Useful online resources

Two kinds of resources are going to be useful to an ambitious high school student trying to engineer a bright future for himself/herself: resources that provide advice and resources that provide knowledge.

Advice resources:

A recurring pattern that has emerged in career-related advice is that passion is overrated. People generally tend to feel passionate about things that they turn out to be good at. So the idea that one should find a field they are passionate about and then become good at it is kind of backward. Becoming good at something and becoming passionate about it happen together. The best way to pick a field is to use external inputs to judge how likely it is that you are going to enjoy the field in future and once you’ve found something good enough, become really good at it. This will automatically make you passionate about the field as well. Anyway, the reason I mention this is to point you to the excellent blog maintained by Cal Newport at. He is a big proponent of the passion-is-overrated theory and offers generally good advice on his website. Another similar blog is the one maintained by Scott Young.

Knowledge resources:

This of course depends on the kind of knowledge you want to acquire. But assuming you are a high-school student trying to become exceptionally good at Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, I would point you to the Physics Stackexchange, the Chemistry Stackexchange, and the Mathematics Stackexchange respectively.

The fundamental law of learning is that you learn ten times more by solving problems than by passively reading through a textbook. The Stackexchange communities make problem solving way more fun that it already was. On each website linked above, people from all over the world ask and answer questions. The website has set up a system of upvotes and badges on top of it that makes it too much fun. If you come up with an elegant solution to a question someone asked, not only will you gain satisfaction and knowledge, but you will also get more points! In short, the website has gamified the problem solving process and we highly recommend spending time there.

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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