2014 Goals

Happy New Year! I’m breaking from my usual routine to throw out a bonus post this week. Everyday I have a handful of to-dos written down on my blackboard and in my phone just to keep myself on track. It’s so much harder to get things done without some goals set in place to track progress.

For the new year I have made a short list of, not really resolutions, just goals I’d like to achieve, that I will achieve. Three hundred and sixty five days is a long time and if you can’t accomplish most of the goals you set out for yourself in that amount of time, there’s something wrong. Nothing takes forever.

A lot of my time with photography lately has been spent reviewing people’s work. In doing this, I can find techniques and aesthetics that I can apply to my own work. For 2014 I’m going to create a series of images. Luckily for me, I don’t have to repeat myself, there was a post back in October where I talked about this concept. I’ll leave the reading to you. Onward.

Not to completely switch gears or anything but the classic education system in America is one that I am not too fond of. There’s an RS Animate video by Ken Robinson that explains what I’m talking about perfectly well. I’ll tie it in with what I’m trying to explain after the video.

The summer after my senior year of high school was a magical one. This particular summer happens to be the interim period between high school and college, for once there was no summer reading to do, not too many applications or anything. I finally had time again to pursue whatever I wanted.

It’s a funny thing really, all the years of summer reading, while making me literate also turned me off to literature and books in general. School created a more negative connotation around books for me. Being told what books to read “because you have to” and because “there’s going to be a graded paper on it” really turns me off, it’s not that inspiring.

The same really goes for every part of a school learning environment, no one really wants to be told what to do if it’s not something they already like to do. Too much weight of a stereotypical grade school course lies with the charismatic abilities of the teacher to inspire and interest the students in the subject matter. Frankly, unless your teacher is the most enthusiastic person on the planet or truly loves teaching, you won’t find yourself jumping out of your seat. At the same time, being taught by word of mouth and a dry, dated textbook of exercises can only cover so much ground in a semester. Learning does not care whether it’s a new semester or not, you can learn anything you want, any time, no bars, no holds.

My point here is that during the summer after high school, I was able to read books for myself again, and it was a beautiful thing. Probably 99.1% (Walter White would be proud) of my every day photographic knowledge has come from reading books on my own. Why? Because I can learn information as fast as I can read, at my own pace, with no grades or pressure involved. That’s what learning is supposed to be about right? Learning the information? Not grades or how many times the teacher stops class to talk about Mario Kart.

I’ve noticed over the past four or five years, that I prefer my information raw. If I want to learn something, I’d much rather just lock myself in my room with a stack of books than sit in a classroom for two and a half hours a week. How much can a teacher accomplish in that amount of time? Not much. I don’t like waiting, when I’m ready to learn something, I’ll learn it. I’m not waiting the whole summer for school to be back in session just for a teacher to teach so the dumbest kids will pass the class. If you really want to learn something, do it yourself. Not with random YouTube videos, do it with a little bit of everything, buy some books with five star reviews and some Lynda.com tutorials. Now there’s a start! The only real purpose of a professor in this day and age is to have a consultant for those contingency situations, troubleshooting. Even at that, you can find troubleshooting help online.

Now that I know exactly how I like to learn, I’d like to learn some computer programming. Sounds big and scary to some, not to me. Steve Jobs said, “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer.” Who am I to contest Steve Jobs? And I can learn it is fast as I want to, just myself and some books.

I like to keep my to-dos in threes so we’ll pick something else too. I’ve very much enjoyed posting weekly on the blog and I really want to increase my hobby of writing in some way. Most likely, that comes in the form of writing a book. I don’t know what it would about. Fiction or nonfiction, I don’t know, but I’m putting it on the list.

Just to recap, my 2014 goals are:

-Create a series of related images

-Learn a computer programming language (HTML, Java, PHP)

-Write a book in some form

What’s your list of goals?

-Alex

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