Things I wish uni had taught me, 1

I posted this tweet yesterday after being frustrated at how little I feel I gained from 7 years at university. Despite studying advanced maths I still have huge holes in my basic maths knowledge and I am struggling to understand Wikipedia math definitions.

I was trying to understand what transcendental functions are, but for that I need to understand what algebraic functions are, and for that, following the Wikipedia rabbit hole, I need to understand polynomial equations and their roots. I got quickly frustrated at how cryptic the Wikipedia pages were, and that my questions grew exponentially with every sentence I read.

I wish uni had taught me how to learn what I need to answer my own questions, and how to hang in there when the going gets cryptic. University courses could be more top down: present us first a question that we would be in a better position to understand or answer after having done the course. Help us figure out how to break down that question into smaller learning goals, help us chart a plan to eventually answer the question or prove it unanswerable. And help us with techniques for how to handle our frustration.

I wish uni had taught me how to learn what I need to answer my own questions, and how to hang in there when the going gets cryptic.

Disclaimer: I am grateful for the opportunities university gave me; I want it to be greater for future generations.

Shout out and thx to @stralau Matthias @ursula_kallio Peter Bourgon

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