Blog of Sara Jakša

Doing Something Mentally Hard

As I was going through my old notes, I have seen an advice written in the corner on one of my notes. I even remember, when I asked this. I know that in the class before that, one of my Vienna classmate and Ljubljana classmate were talking about the number of scientific papers that they read. And I would say that they are both well-read people.

So, taking advantage of this, I asked this Vienna classmate, what the strategy for reading that many scientific papers are. This are the notes, that I have taken from him:

  • It is the same as reading the book
  • It is mentally more challenging
  • Just practice
  • Be careful of the intermediate stage, where everything is gray
  • Just go over the feeling of not wanting to read

It is a nice throwback to about a year ago, and how much did things change in this time. In the time of writing this, it is exactly 1 year and 2 days ago. Now, I have no problems reading multiple articles per day. I know that I have read more articles in this year, then there are days, and I know, that I don't read every day. Just today, I have read 3 scientific articles before 10 o'clock in the morning, something that would be unthinkable just a year ago.

The one takeaway, that I took from that conversation, is to simply do it and to not overthink. I did not need to study the article. I could just read it. And if there is something in the article, that I needed to know later, I can always check if afterwards. This helped me read multiple of articles more than I did before.

And this is true for any kind of work, that is mentally hard. Simply do it, and eventually a level will become a second nature. And then , trying to do something on a higher level becomes a lot easier. Since it does not require also learning how to do something on a lower level as well at the same time.

And I guess I used the same type of work on how I learned programming. I just got an idea, that was interesting, and I did it. Or something (read: lot of times) I gave up in the middle of it. But it did not matter. I still finished with some interesting finished programs. And based on this, at one point I realized that I find something things, that my classmates were struggling for easy. And not just their basic programming homework, but also compared to my classmate who needed to do something with self-organizing maps for his programming research projects.