Lynn just had us write our final reflections for HFID. Here's part of what I told her.
You know what else I realized? I really like books. I thrive on reading. I can do so much of it so fast and retain so much information, it’s a big part of what I can bring to a team; so many times I’d bring up other articles and books during meetings, and it would add value to the conversation because very few students can get through the pages-per-day that I find trivial.
(Note wherein Mel feels really sheepish about semi-bragging: Reading a technical textbook in a week is very doable for me; reading it in a day or two is possible if I'm not pwned. I read Harry Potter books 1-5 in one leisurely day while waiting for the 6th to come out, and started the Lord of the Rings after breakfast one morning and had finished all three books and their appendices by the time I headed to dinner on the same day. I'm trying not to brag here, really - this is just... what I do, how I read. Without trying. Usually without even thinking about it.)
I can’t follow lectures. I hate making phone calls. I don’t have a large store of technical expertise on any particular subject. But I read fast and well and can transfer that knowledge concisely to others, and this super-reading ninjahood is actually an asset and not just a trivial thing that “anyone at Olin can do.” And reading things related to my classes isn’t a waste of time unrelated to homework, it’s sort of like my version of “extra studying,” so it’s okay if I do it if I find ways to make it useful towards my work...
...I’m still trying to figure out how to apply this to everything else that I do, but I do learn by book, and I become much more receptive to other modes of learning after I’ve done my background reading.
Amazon.com will soon begin to receive a 10% tithe of my annual salary.