Hard work vs. Smartishness

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Secateurs » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:28 am UTC

Chen wrote:So why are all the smart people with no work ethic, not trying to improve said work ethic? In life work is not always going to be interesting or fun (I'd probably say a lot of it won't be). Just because school work and studying is boring, doesn't mean it cannot help you. Someone had said something about doing only the extra credit math problems and leaving the other easier ones because its just boring. Well why not try to find a better way to solve them? Try to find some other tricks to make things even faster to do? Teachers cannot teach to the top end of the class because those at the middle or bottom would get left behind. In the current system people who have the easy time with the subject matter need to find ways to motivate themselves. I have no problem pushing for change in the system. But until that change occurs, just accepting the flawed system (and getting screwed later on due to poor work ethic) is in no way smart.

I agree.
I got straight A's this semester (we don't do A+ or A*), and my level of work is pretty high on all of them (high for me, compared to previous years - 3 hours a night). I am fairly sure that I'd be able to get A's in at least 3 of those 6 subjects even if I did little study, but because I'm paranoid that the courses are going to get more difficult, I'm trying to get used to working hard. Sure, it's annoying, and boring (sometimes so much that I begin to hate the subject that I'm studying for) but then my test results always remind me that there is a point to doing problems repetitively until I really, really understand them.
Does it make a difference? In my opinion, yes. In my last chem test, the course average was the lowest for the entire year. I got 100%.
Now, you might say that I still would've done well in the test, and it's probably going to make little difference to my overall grade at the end of the year, but for me it's less about the grade, and more about preparing myself for later studies. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't care about other's opinions as well; my teacher noticed that my work ethic stepped up, and the head of science complimented me on it, which bodes well for my goal to get the chem award at the end of the year.
Smartishness is nice, but coasting can set you up for failure. Hard work pays off more in the long run. (And I find it more satisfying.)
Can I ask a question for those who don't work hard and just rely on natural ability? Are you likely to try working harder after reading this thread even when you are fairly confident of passing, or are you too lazy (can't think of a less negative work, sorry) to try?
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:53 am UTC

Secateurs wrote:but for me it's less about the grade, and more about preparing myself for later studies.
There are those who will argue at length that the somewhat less tangible skill sets are what are principally of value, and that the actual course content will not be of great use to you later in life.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Secateurs » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:57 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Secateurs wrote:but for me it's less about the grade, and more about preparing myself for later studies.
There are those who will argue at length that the somewhat less tangible skill sets are what are principally of value, and that the actual course content will not be of great use to you later in life.

I probably wasn't very clear there - I don't mean preparing myself by learning the coursework, necessarily, just gaining the right study habits, 'learning how to learn', etc. I know that most of what they teach me now will probably be outdated by the time I go to uni, if it's not a gross simplification of the truth.
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Two-Fry » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:16 pm UTC

Secateurs wrote:Can I ask a question for those who don't work hard and just rely on natural ability? Are you likely to try working harder after reading this thread even when you are fairly confident of passing, or are you too lazy (can't think of a less negative work, sorry) to try?

I don't work hard, but it's not out of laziness. I just don't work more than I need to. I completely fail to see the point of spending hours studying something I already fully grasp, or doing meaningless busywork just to "Improve my work ethic." I apply myself exactly as much as I need to, and that is all. It's not a question of laziness, it's just a matter of doing what you have to versus doing more than you have to. My grades normally hover around 92%, as I often skip idiotic assignments to get extra sleep when I am doing well (For me this means when I have above a 95%). I simply do what I need to do get the results I want.
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby valarauca » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:02 pm UTC

PhatPhungus wrote:I generally fall into the catagory of smartishness, which is obnoxious because it means that even when my test average is over 100%, I still have a C in the class because I wouldn't put up with the busywork.

Generally, the harder the class, the higher my grade in it.


Same classes like gym i fail for unknown reasons...
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby notzeb » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:15 am UTC

I'm a lazy idiot, so I don't know which of smartish vs hard-working is better, but I think I'd rather be hard-working since smartish people seem to be such whiners.

As for kids who try to get straight As... they probably just don't know how meaningless grades are. School can be pretty stressful if you take it too seriously! Still, it's such a waste that they devote their time to grades - they could spend that time learning.
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:19 am UTC

notzeb wrote:As for kids who try to get straight As... they probably just don't know how meaningless grades are. School can be pretty stressful if you take it too seriously! Still, it's such a waste that they devote their time to grades - they could spend that time learning.
Why is it a waste to devote their time to grades? I mean, there's nothing wrong with learning the material well, then simply ace the course with what you learned. By the way, grades are not meaningless. Before you have a good resume on work experience, the only thing that your employers can look at are your grades. (assuming that you have finished college/university, that is, since chances are they won't look at high school grades) To most of them, with everything else being equal, a 90% average looks a lot more impressive than a 60%. A lot of co-op jobs gets sponsored by the government, at least in Canada, IF your grades are high enough. ie. Your employer don't need to pay nearly as much, so they are a lot more likely to hire you. I mean, this is to the extent where your employer can pay you minimum wage (which is $8.50 in Canada, if I recall), while you get a $18 dollar salary.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Birk » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:01 am UTC

notzeb wrote:I'm a lazy idiot, so I don't know which of smartish vs hard-working is better, but I think I'd rather be hard-working since smartish people seem to be such whiners.

As for kids who try to get straight As... they probably just don't know how meaningless grades are. School can be pretty stressful if you take it too seriously! Still, it's such a waste that they devote their time to grades - they could spend that time learning.



Well if you get good grades that improves your chances of getting into, say a top research-oriented university, giving you unparalleled access to actual practical knowledge in your field that you can't get just reading books. Especially at the graduate level.

I mean unless you are content to just sit around absorbing the knowledge of others instead of helping to create knowledge in a given field.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:00 am UTC

Birk wrote:Well if you get good grades that improves your chances of getting into, say a top research-oriented university, giving you unparalleled access to actual practical knowledge in your field that you can't get just reading books. Especially at the graduate level.

I mean unless you are content to just sit around absorbing the knowledge of others instead of helping to create knowledge in a given field.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you're not a graduate student.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Birk » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:29 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Birk wrote:Well if you get good grades that improves your chances of getting into, say a top research-oriented university, giving you unparalleled access to actual practical knowledge in your field that you can't get just reading books. Especially at the graduate level.

I mean unless you are content to just sit around absorbing the knowledge of others instead of helping to create knowledge in a given field.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you're not a graduate student.


Haha not yet but I hope to be in a few years. Is that some kind of warning?

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:30 pm UTC

Birk wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
Birk wrote:Well if you get good grades that improves your chances of getting into, say a top research-oriented university, giving you unparalleled access to actual practical knowledge in your field that you can't get just reading books. Especially at the graduate level.

I mean unless you are content to just sit around absorbing the knowledge of others instead of helping to create knowledge in a given field.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you're not a graduate student.


Haha not yet but I hope to be in a few years. Is that some kind of warning?
Let's just say that stuff you wrote probably isn't the sort of thing that would be written by any graduate student I've ever known.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Birk » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:38 pm UTC

Fair enough.

Mostly just parroting my brother who is a Ph.D who always talks to me about the benefit of doing your own research in addition to reading/studying in order to really understand what you are working on. So it was said by some graduate student I know. Maybe we just have weird genes or maybe I mispoke. Who knows.
Last edited by Birk on Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:44 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:41 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Let's just say that stuff you wrote probably isn't the sort of thing that would be written by any graduate student I've ever known.
The 1/2 about the grades getting you into a good university is still right, though. The 1/2 about creating new work...... You are, just that chances are your new work is going to be read by like 5 people. (And yes, I am a grad student.)

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Birk » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:47 pm UTC

I mean maybe I missed something but isn't the whole point of grad school (for the sciences) that in addition to a selection of limited but very advanced courses you are researching to try and contribute something new to your field. Even if your grad work isn't the biggest thing and your dissertation will probably just be buried in the school archives the point is that you showed you can generate original thoughts and not just regurgitate ideas?

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:26 pm UTC

Birk wrote:I mean maybe I missed something but isn't the whole point of grad school (for the sciences) that in addition to a selection of limited but very advanced courses you are researching to try and contribute something new to your field. Even if your grad work isn't the biggest thing and your dissertation will probably just be buried in the school archives the point is that you showed you can generate original thoughts and not just regurgitate ideas?
Maybe it is, but given the difficulty of grad school, I think one generally needs more motivation than the idea of getting to entomb a piece of "original research".

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Birk » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:57 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Birk wrote:I mean maybe I missed something but isn't the whole point of grad school (for the sciences) that in addition to a selection of limited but very advanced courses you are researching to try and contribute something new to your field. Even if your grad work isn't the biggest thing and your dissertation will probably just be buried in the school archives the point is that you showed you can generate original thoughts and not just regurgitate ideas?
Maybe it is, but given the difficulty of grad school, I think one generally needs more motivation than the idea of getting to entomb a piece of "original research".


Yes you have to want to excel for a variety of reasons but going into a potentially research oriented field (again we are talking the sciences here) without a desire to do research is pretty silly.

But really this is a gross misinterpretation of my original point which was: Yes grades might seem pointless and stupid and stressful and not a true measure of how smart someone is but doing well in school and always trying to excel can open up opportunities down the road. People were asking why they should always put forth the effort to do their best and I was trying to give them one.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby notzeb » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:38 pm UTC

You seem to have misinterpreted me. I am all for learning on your own, reading, learning course material in class, etc. I just don't see the point of devoting all of your time to trying to get a higher GPA than your peers. If you really want to get into a top research-oriented university, maybe you'd be better off... doing some research? Or learning material that will help you do research? As opposed to spending all of your time trying to win brownie points with your TAs.

My point is, if your goal is to get straight A+s, I have nothing but pity for you. If your goal is to learn, you have gained my respect. How do you think I've made it through school so far without being either hardworking or smartish?
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

notzeb wrote:As opposed to spending all of your time trying to win brownie points with your TAs.
Those aren't the people getting A+. I can tell you that much. They are usually the ones getting a B or lower and trying to pull up their GPA. Besides, why is it not possible to have both goals in mind at the same time? Some of us who are there to learn are also pulling an extremely high GPA, and it just takes a little more (like doing the bonus questions and such) to get that straight A+'s.

Anyways, I agree with the fact that it is bad to care about your GPA for the sake of GPA, but I will stress again that they are usually not the people who actually get A+'s.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Birk » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:49 pm UTC

achan1058 wrote:
notzeb wrote:As opposed to spending all of your time trying to win brownie points with your TAs.
Those aren't the people getting A+. I can tell you that much. They are usually the ones getting a B or lower and trying to pull up their GPA. Besides, why is it not possible to have both goals in mind at the same time? Some of us who are there to learn are also pulling an extremely high GPA, and it just takes a little more (like doing the bonus questions and such) to get that straight A+'s.

Anyways, I agree with the fact that it is bad to care about your GPA for the sake of GPA, but I will stress again that they are usually not the people who actually get A+'s.


Yes I agree with this. I just was trying to word it without making further assumptions because that would be rude. But my goal is to get both great grades and learn the material while picking up other intangible benefits, doing undergrad research whenever possible, and not stressing out about the whole thing.

The last part is the hardest one.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby baultista » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:49 pm UTC

achan1508 wrote:Why is it a waste to devote their time to grades? I mean, there's nothing wrong with learning the material well, then simply ace the course with what you learned. By the way, grades are not meaningless. Before you have a good resume on work experience, the only thing that your employers can look at are your grades. (assuming that you have finished college/university, that is, since chances are they won't look at high school grades) To most of them, with everything else being equal, a 90% average looks a lot more impressive than a 60%. A lot of co-op jobs gets sponsored by the government, at least in Canada, IF your grades are high enough. ie. Your employer don't need to pay nearly as much, so they are a lot more likely to hire you. I mean, this is to the extent where your employer can pay you minimum wage (which is $8.50 in Canada, if I recall), while you get a $18 dollar salary.

It depends on the field. Canadian companies receive tax credits for employing students. In certain fields, there are additional grants that the government will award to companies that hire students.

For my first co-op job, they cited a B average as the minimum for consideration. This is because they wanted all of their co-ops to apply for NSERC research grants. IIRC, the company has to put 100% of the NSERC research grant towards paying your salary, and you have to submit a report highlighting the finds of your research.

Hmph... thanks for stimulating that bit of thought out of me. I always forget to list my NSERC research grant on my resume. From my experience as a co-op student, I have seen very few companies that pay below $12/hr. Those that pay $12/hr are usually startups trying to gouge students (although the experience can be top notch) or mundane jobs that involve pushing papers or sending e-mail blasts. The average student starts at about $14-16 and moves upwards. I started at $18 and have remained pretty stagnant... mainly b/c I've never returned to a former company.


As far as grades go... remember that they are your only performance indicators. In school, you will often be judged by your grades. In the real world your grades will help, but interviews, experience, and results will take precedence. Tests and exams are a popular way of evaluating a student, but they're a very poor indicator of what that student has learned. Many people (myself included at one point) will eventually learn how to beat the system, and become good test writers who can perform better with a lesser understanding of a subject. Suppose the military decided that it would grade applicant fitness levels based on their ability to arm wrestle. An applicant could discover this and beat the system by training his dominant arm to be very strong, but still lack any form of cardio, or strength and endurance in other areas of his body. This person would actually be a terrible fit for the military, but his performance indicators would be through the roof. Likewise, another applicant could train intensely and be very good at everything, but be a poor arm wrestler due to a weak muscle. This applicant, despite being a great fit, would score lower and maybe not pass the test.


Sorry about the obscure analogy... but the point is that you need to find a balance between applying your smartishness and working hard. I think that you need to care about your grades enough to discover ways to beat the system and maximize your marks, but you *also* have to make sure that you learn the content. In highschool this is paramount. In your bachelor's degree your marks may not matter as much if you plan to work afterwards, but if you want to get into graduate school you would absolutely need good marks.

My GPA usually bounces around between 3.5 and 3.7 I know that I could do better if I put the time into memorizing absolutely everything, but I find it pointless. I just go for a good understanding of the subject and leave it at that.
---
Other fragmented thoughts that I didn't complete:

I've seen a mix of everything so far. I'm in business school so I've seen more than my fair share of idiots who could BS their way out of anything. There are some people who say the dumbest and most illogical things... but make them sound very effective by means of strong communication. It's only when you stop and analyze their points that you realize how idiotic the preceding statements actually were. They put absolutely no effort into their work but still do very well. It irritates me when professors give these people good marks, saying that "your answer was wrong, but you got a good mark for presenting it well". That's like getting absolutely everything wrong in a math problem and still getting a good mark because the teacher liked your handwriting.

Conversely, I've met some absolutely brilliant people who could think critically and do an amazing job on something, but completely fail to answer a question about it. These are the types that can do something extraordinarily well, but just can't seem to explain how or why they did it. These students work very hard and either end up with very good marks or very poor marks. It seems that these people often go on to be professors at my school.
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:39 am UTC

baultista wrote:For my first co-op job, they cited a B average as the minimum for consideration. This is because they wanted all of their co-ops to apply for NSERC research grants. IIRC, the company has to put 100% of the NSERC research grant towards paying your salary, and you have to submit a report highlighting the finds of your research.
Yes, this is what I am talking about. NSERC pays like 1/2 of the wage, so you can get a $18 salary while the company is paying something like $9. They often won't hire you if your grades are not good enough, since that means they have to pay you the full $18, instead of the government covering 1/2 of it.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby dbh2ppa » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:39 am UTC

i think it's not about hard work, nor "smartishness", but about smart work.

the students who find elementary/high school math easy, it's not because of some genetic predisposition, it's because they have an intuitive grasp on logic; a bit of logic and that sort of math is very easy to grasp. as to how they achieved that intuitive logic, they probably did it since before school, playing games that required some sort of reasoning, which would mean, one could play those games, learn to reason, and then try to do math, elimination the necessity for "hard work".
same for things like history; people who are good at those subjects have 1) a good memory and 2) again, logic and reasoning. memory is quite easy to develop to the point where it comes naturally, and for those times where there's just too much information to remember, there's always flashcards and srs (spaced repetition systems, that is) which eliminates all the "hard work".
language? heavy amounts of exposition to correct language will eventually generate correct language output, easy as that. as for grammar, once you're familiar with the complexities of the language and have a decent memory, it should be very easy.
arts? it's not about natural ability, the ability to generate art (plastic arts, music, etc) comes from... generating art, and exposure to beautiful art (whatever that may mean in the social context). so, it's about practice. making that practice enjoyable (as in, drawing, paying music, dancing, etc. for the fun of it) would take out the "hard work" out of it.
higher mathematics need a combination of exposure to different theories, reading lots of proofs, and practice writing proofs. if you're into mathematics, this is what you do in your free time anyway, so, no hard work there. if you don't like it, then... what the hell are you doing majoring in math?

the only place where one may find difficulty is in maintaining interest in an uninteresting environment (as in, high school. you have to take the courses, like them or not, and the syllabus is idiotic at best). in those cases, the best solution, i find, is researching around the syllabus, which is usually way more interesting, and will give you reason to want to learn the syllabus (in order to understand what you're researching yourself).

so, yeah.. hard work... works? but it is not the best way to go. "smartishness" alone will not get you far. smart work, on the other hand, is a lot more fun, will get you as far as you want to go, and is not hard at all.
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:26 am UTC

dbh2ppa wrote:memory is quite easy to develop to the point where it comes naturally
Now there's a bold statement.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:00 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
dbh2ppa wrote:memory is quite easy to develop to the point where it comes naturally
Now there's a bold statement.
It's not that bold, actually. Many of us have memorized a 1 hour repertoire of piano music for an exam. Comparing the 30 minutes of a Beethoven sonata, the amount you need to memorize for a class is quite small, in retrospect. Of course, a Beethoven sonata has lots of patterns, but so do a lot of class material. (unless you are studying law)

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

achan1058 wrote:Many of us
Yes, fine, but I would be very hesitant to say the statement applies in general.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:18 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
achan1058 wrote:Many of us
Yes, fine, but I would be very hesitant to say the statement applies in general.
I am sure it does, to some extent, or they won't make it an exam requirement.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby dbh2ppa » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:17 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
achan1058 wrote:Many of us
Yes, fine, but I would be very hesitant to say the statement applies in general.


it does apply in general, the problem is that generally a) people don't train their memory and b) people don't know the easier ways to memorize things. anyone can do it, most people don't know how to do it, and don't really care about it, "no pain no gain" mentality. mnemonics are easy to learn, and mnemonics, when practiced often, end up becoming second nature, and after memorizing lots of things for lots of times, your actual memory catches up and mnemonics stop being (at least consciously) necessary, except for those few and uncommon cases when you have to memorize 100 chinese characters (averaging 10 strokes each) overnight, in which cases mnemonics can pick up the slack.
this, of course, only makes sense if you memorize slowly throughout the course, and not if you try to cram it all in the night before the final (though i'm not saying it's impossible, only that it would fall under "hard work").
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:50 pm UTC

dbh2ppa wrote:this, of course, only makes sense if you memorize slowly throughout the course, and not if you try to cram it all in the night before the final (though i'm not saying it's impossible, only that it would fall under "hard work").
I will not even call it hard work. Hard work means putting in a lot of work, that has an positive effect. Attempting to memorize over night, and failing, is not a lot of work, and usually does not have much effect.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:15 pm UTC

dbh2ppa wrote:it does apply in general, the problem is that generally a) people don't train their memory and b) people don't know the easier ways to memorize things. anyone can do it, most people don't know how to do it, and don't really care about it, "no pain no gain" mentality.
I am baffled and slightly offended by this claim that you are privy to universally applicable properties of the human mind.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby dbh2ppa » Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
dbh2ppa wrote:it does apply in general, the problem is that generally a) people don't train their memory and b) people don't know the easier ways to memorize things. anyone can do it, most people don't know how to do it, and don't really care about it, "no pain no gain" mentality.
I am baffled and slightly offended by this claim that you are privy to universally applicable properties of the human mind.

perhaps my phrasing was too bold, and i apologize. what i meant is that i've never met a person, with no diagnosed mental illness, whose memory can't be improved greatly, to the point of being able to memorize large amounts of information with little effort, by means of training and appropriate mnemonic devices. this, of course, is merely anecdotal and proves nothing about the nature of human memory, but it does make me suppose it so.
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please ignore the errors in the above post. i'm not currently fluent in english, mainly because it's not my mother tongue, but also because i'm sleepy... always.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:35 am UTC

dbh2ppa wrote:what i meant is that i've never met a person, with no diagnosed mental illness, whose memory can't be improved greatly, to the point of being able to memorize large amounts of information with little effort, by means of training and appropriate mnemonic devices.
I for one am absolutely clueless about what might happen after training to the memories of people that I meet. Whatever.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby dbh2ppa » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
dbh2ppa wrote:what i meant is that i've never met a person, with no diagnosed mental illness, whose memory can't be improved greatly, to the point of being able to memorize large amounts of information with little effort, by means of training and appropriate mnemonic devices.
I for one am absolutely clueless about what might happen after training to the memories of people that I meet. Whatever.

holy jeebus, you and your nitpicking!
ok, how's this:
out of all the people i've known, every one of them who, to my knowledge, has attempted to improve their memory by means of exercise and use of mnemonics, has had great success in memorizing great amounts of information with little effort.
and by "great amounts" or "little effort" i mean "greater amounts than expected by social standards" and "less effort than expected by social standards".
then again, the above could have very well be understood from my initial statement by use of common sense, something that seems to be lacking around here at the time.
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please ignore the errors in the above post. i'm not currently fluent in english, mainly because it's not my mother tongue, but also because i'm sleepy... always.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby cathrl » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:34 pm UTC

dbh2ppa wrote:i think it's not about hard work, nor "smartishness", but about smart work.

the students who find elementary/high school math easy, it's not because of some genetic predisposition, it's because they have an intuitive grasp on logic; a bit of logic and that sort of math is very easy to grasp.


But at some point you hit math which you can't grasp intuitively. And then, if you've never bothered to learn the boring rote methods of solving it, you're stuck. Deeply stuck. My brother was 15 before he hit equations to which he couldn't just "see" the answer. I spent a while teaching him how to crossmultiply - something he should have learned at 11 - because he'd never seen the point in it at the time. He'd just looked at "5x + 2 = 7" and seen the answer. When he couldn't see the answer, he couldn't solve even relatively simple equations.

You have to learn how to use the solution tools, even if you don't actually need them for the problems you are solving at the time.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby achan1058 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:23 pm UTC

cathrl wrote:But at some point you hit math which you can't grasp intuitively. And then, if you've never bothered to learn the boring rote methods of solving it, you're stuck. Deeply stuck. My brother was 15 before he hit equations to which he couldn't just "see" the answer. I spent a while teaching him how to crossmultiply - something he should have learned at 11 - because he'd never seen the point in it at the time. He'd just looked at "5x + 2 = 7" and seen the answer. When he couldn't see the answer, he couldn't solve even relatively simple equations.

You have to learn how to use the solution tools, even if you don't actually need them for the problems you are solving at the time.
You can still learn to see it at a deeper level, like why the routine rules work. Once you see that, there's no need to memorize the rules anymore. In this particular example with simple equations, the general technique is simple: Do the same thing to both sides, isolate x. Works for everything up to and including quadratics, and a bit beyond. Cross multiply, in particular, can be derived from this general technique.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Patrice » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

There was a post on slashdot some time ago where they said that your talent depends on your hard work, if you like something, then you'll do a lot of it and you'll be better at it.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Nerzaghal » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

I relied on "smartishness" til college. Til then, I either didn't care or grasped it intuitively (which included AP chem, physics and calculus).
Once I hit my first round of "real" (I know people will contest me on this definition) science classes though, I couldn't JUST rely on smarts alone. Well I could if I wanted high 80s on my tests, but I didn't. I wanted to know the material and do extremely well. That's where hard work/smart work came in. Hard work is no good though if you don't understand WHAT you're doing OR WHY something happens. This bit me in the ass in the beginning of second semester physics and first semester organic chem, til I didn't just memorize how to do stuff but understood why it worked x way, and came back and did well on the final.
Also, I'm starting to get angry at people who just insist that my good grades are "cause you're (I'm) smart." No, it's cause I spend an inordinate amount of time studying, doing all the work that's assigned and making sure I know how everything works and practicing as many problems as I can find. The reality is, I probably spend too much time studying, and could get away with maybe 1/3rd or 1/2 the time, but I'd rather do extremely well and KNOW everything I need to know (for my major/minors). As a result, I still remember my esters, claisens, aldols, benzenes etc >>.
I still work hard for non-major classes, but not that hard (DANTE'S INFERNO IS SRS BUSINESS)
Note: Despite all the time I spend studying etc, I still find time to have fun, but doing well > fun for me....to the point where doing well becomes fun.
It got to the point where I enjoyed making organic chemistry notecards....clearly I've gone mad.
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby porcupine » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:41 am UTC

I did not get terribly good grades in school until my last year of high school when I finally decided to buckle down. Throughout most of my education I have been able to just get it, and never want to put any effort into work that feels redundant and tedious since I already understand the concept. I found more satisfaction in work I found challenging, mostly in my trig/pre-calc class. A counter example to that would be Economics, utterly mundane and seemingly useless, but for some an easy class to bolster their gpa. For me it was a bit of a nightmare, I won't lie and say that my work ethics were anywhere near satisfactory. I know there will be a time when I will get to the point where my subjects will be challenging, but that makes them all the more worth it.

On the other hand, somebody once told me about their sister, who has ADD or ADHD, I can't remember which, and had took hours every night to complete her work, but in the end she got an A. I wish I had the amount of diligence she does, because being able to scrape something together at the last minute will only get me so far.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:57 am UTC

porcupine wrote:I wish I had the amount of diligence she does, because being able to scrape something together at the last minute will only get me so far.
Y'know, I've been told an awful lot of things in university Arts programs work out that way.

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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby TheGuyWithTheHat » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:40 am UTC

Good grades don't equal intelligence. Good memory? Maybe.
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Re: Hard work vs. Smartishness

Postby pineapplepie » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:39 pm UTC

Actually, a lot of supposed "smartish" people got that way through reading more out of class and retaining information from previous classes. For example, a lot of my friends didn't really have to study for math, etc. because the teacher had to spend a lot of time covering topics that we'd learned the previous year. Other people had to study hard after school because they didn't pay enough attention during class or didn't 'get' the way the material was explained.


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