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Learning to Quit

I have been an avid learner of MOOC courses since this format debut in 2012. It is often said, despite the large number of people signed up, most did not complete the course, that is if they started at all. Few turned in home work or did any required work. Even fewer went through tests and exams. At the end no more than 5% of students would have completed all lectures, home works and exams.

I am in those 5% who made earnest effort in every class. I submitted all work on time, participated in discussions, and generally did well in exams. A good number of the classes I signed up are hard core courses that demand substantial amount of work, include a lot of technical effort like programming and mathematics. I took pride in accomplishing them.

I didn't stop myself at one course at a time. There were so many interesting subjects I often found myself going for two or three courses at the same time. How did I juggle a full time job, parenting two children, and working three courses I didn't know. (Watching lecture videos at 1.5x to 2x speed helped) The effort I have put in I am confident it is enough to earn a bachelor degree or two master degree.

But recently I have let up in my pursuit of MOOC. The number of course I have attended has gone down substantially. I have gone between weeks or months without any classes. There are a variety of reasons but I am not interested to inquire for now.

Mostly recently I have signed to a supply chain management class from MIT. I don't need to use this at work or in practice. But it sounds cool. And it uses mathematical tools like probabilities and calculus. I am interest to see how to apply them for real world problems. It was kind of fun to see the approach to make the best of a supply chain in face of uncertain demand. But now I am two third into the course, I have gotten the main idea. But I also have gotten tire of getting solutions by plugging numbers into formulas. I was busy and the course got tedious. So I did what I have not done before. I decided to quit. I think I have learned enough and it does not worth my effort to do every single exercise there. I have learned it is right for me to quit.

I still skim through the weekly lectures. I watch the introduction and the key points at the end without bother with the tedious work that make up the bulk of the lectures. I have learned that this is the best strategy for me to gain exposure to the subject without bog down by the details. Striving is good. But so is quitting sometimes.




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