Self-Learning: The Road So Far

Dated Jun 25, 2021; last modified on Sat, 03 Jul 2021

On graduating, I pictured myself blossoming into a voracious autodidact. Unlike those pesky pre-requisites scattered through college, the topics I’d dive into will be 100% my choice! Two years after graduation, I’m underwhelmed by my progress so far. This post examines my current predicament.

OneNote Notebooks

Fortunately, OneNote is not part of M365 else I would need to pay for continued access.

Useful for annotating primary sources. Handwritten annotations make me feel as if I’m actually learning something.

I don’t review the notebooks often because the content is too dense for a casual review.


Not sticky. Useful for interview prep, but my usage tapered off after getting a job. The flashcards feel like an unncessary duplication of my notes, given that I’m already transcribing important points from my OneNote to my blog.

Byte-Sized Courses

For example, this spreadsheet . The core theory here is focusing my efforts on a few topics for a couple of days, while tracking my overall progress on the topics.

Not sticky. The spreadsheet feels like too much overhead. I also lack conviction to commit to a given topic.

Personal Website

The content in my blog is distilled from my primary notes, e.g. OneNote notebooks, and book annotations. The major advantages of a personal website is the accessibility (only need a browser) and customizability (via Hugo).

I started out with Jekyll, but the lack of a straightforward mapping between folders/files and the site’s pages drew me to Hugo.

Hard links are helpful when presenting the same content in different contexts, without incurring a syncing overhead e.g. modifying this page in the ELE 364 notes simultaneously modifies this page in the general ML notes .

The ability to also organize the content using metadata, e.g. tags , categories , domains , authors and recency , is nifty.

The Random Link ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ button is convenient because I find myself wanting to review something, without needing to decide what that thing is.

Online Forums and RSS Subscriptions

Hacker News and Slashdot are my go-to forums. As a source of edification, Reddit has been lackluster of late.

My RSS subscriptions hover around tech, math, science, finance and philosophy . The main challenge has been too much content. My unread article count is north of 2,000 and I don’t think I’ll ever catch up.

Forums and RSS feeds have been useful for adding current connections to relatively timeless notes, e.g. here .