Toiling Minds

As I left class last week I peeked into the dorm rooms I was passing. I do that every night as I leave. That night though I caught a glimpse of a particular young undergrad hunched over his desk with his fist clenched in his hair in a pose of earnest concentration. I immediately thought about how glad I was to not be in his position. My preferred spot is more like reclined in a wing-back chair with an open book in my lap and a smirk on my lips about a new insight I’m realizing as I look off into the distance.

Over the past couple of days I have been staying up late and depriving myself of some much-needed sleep in order to work on embedded systems programing. The only motivation for such work is to further my knowledge and maybe begin to create prototypes of autonomous machines. Yet the passion and excitement about the possibilities of robotics keeps my mind awake and studying despite the pleas from my eyelids to drop down shut.

There were no clenched fists of frustration though. Not at 2 am in a private study. And yet productivity was not halted and sloth was nowhere around. This idea that work, suffering or sacrifice is part of the mean face of education is, I think, misguided, incorrect and an insult to study itself. I hope the man in that dorm room doesn’t suffer from too many pimples for his efforts.

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