Luana.me

Inside the daily world of Luana Spinetti

Still a Student, After All (I Will Never Stop)

The Student Life, Thoughts · November 5, 2014, Wednesday

Hello! 😀 Guess what? I’ve almost completely recovered. Such a good feeling!

Me, Luana, with my headphones

I have completed an article for a client today and done some social media work for them, so I feel good and accomplished. Now, time to update my personal blog and have some fun with my Character Blogs, too. Yup!

So, today’s post is about studying. Oh, I know some of you will make a face and say, “nooo, studying is awful! All that yucky homework to get done, bleh!”.

Well, I know there are teachers out there who make it really hard to enjoy a subject (been there, done that), but that’s not the ‘studying’ I’m referring to.

I used to be a university student until 2012. Computer Science undergraduate. I was really slow to progress on exams, though, because in addition to my health issues I had almost no background in Mathematics and computer architecture, so everything was new to me and I had to absorb it bit by bit.

Never mind, I told myself, I love it so much that it doesn’t matter how long I take to graduate, as long as I DO graduate, right?

Some people around me had different thoughts about the matter, though. Long story short, there was this strong idea that paying several years of tuition (albeit I paid half of it with my own money) for a student with health issues who doesn’t make steady progress wasn’t a good idea, so I was strongly pressured to quit.

[NOTE: I know I shouldn’t have cared about that idea, but not being financially independent and the excess stress and pressure added to my ‘malfunctioning’ and made studying almost impossible.]

I didn’t quit, though— I just put my studies on hold. I don’t pay tuition anymore, but my university ID is still active, so while I can’t take exams, I can still use the library and the CS lab.

I keep in touch with my old classmates, I attend to student reunions (in semi-incognito, as I can’t participate actively) and I give and get advice on subjects.

I still study. I attend lectures every time I can drop by the faculty, I study lecture materials that professors put online and I email professors who know my story and agreed to keep an open channel with me. (They also hope I’ll be back as a full- or part-time student, some day!)

So you see, I’m still a student, after all. And I will never stop being one.

It’s not just my university. I keep studying thanks to free materials from MIT’s Open Courseware and public course pages, and websites like Coursera and Udacity that let you enroll to university-grade courses for free.

Some people now know they can’t do anything to stop me.

Besides, I’m a freelancer thanks to my multi-area studies. I tend to use what I learn, so it’s thanks to the notions of Linguistics if I can write a better English and do better text translations for clients; and it’s thanks to Automata Theory if I learned to recognize patterns behind a language (natural or artificial) and understand programming better.

And if I’m starting to get a name in the freelance marketing field, it’s because I studied Marketing and SEO on my own.

So this is really it: I can be taken out of university but, in a way, university can’t be taken out of me.

This is who I am, and I love it.

Luana Spinetti

Reflection On Studied Topics and Intuition

Mathematics, The Student Life · May 30, 2013, Thursday

When you study, don’t just stop to the concepts you’re trying to fixate in your mind.

Discuss the concept with yourself, bring on some deep reflection.

Not just when you do it the topic will come up easier to learn and memorize, but you could come up with interesting ideas that will further your studies and make you advance in your curriculum.

Back in 2009, I was deeply involved with Discrete Mathematics as I was prepping for the exam. As I was relaxing in the afternoon, watching a Disney movie on DVD, I came up with an idea that I had to put down on paper.

The idea linked together two topics in Discrete Mathematics I was studying that day, relations and graphs.

Here is the exact copy from my note sheet from that very productive afternoon:

Let G=(V,E) be a connected, non-oriented graph, and let’s define a ρ b the relation between two nodes a and b, with ρ the relation symbol:

a ρ b ⇔ there exists at least one walk between a and b

R: a ρ a ⇔ there exists a walk from a to a (it’s the size 0 walk)

S: a ρ bb ρ a, a ρ b if there exists a walk from a to b; b ρ a if there exists a walk from b to a

T: a ρ b ∧ b ρ ca ρ c, with

  • a ρ b: there exists a walk from a to b
  • b ρ c: there exists a walk from b to c
  • a ρ c: there exists a walk from a to c

mathidea

(Graph created with http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4189520/GraphJS/graphjs.html and a bit of hand-drawing. It’s not great, I know… ^^”)

Luana Spinetti