Learning new skills makes mind sharper.
I am one of those thirteen students who didn’t or couldn’t attend the workshop in week 1. In my case it was “couldn’t”. As Jenny said later that week that the ones who missed the workshop in week 1, must read the Assessment Tab on LMS.
I read it.
After the second read of all those six pages, I decided this subject is not for me. I shall withdraw from the subject.
I am a student of Computer Science. Computer science,by the way is not about how to use computers or how to repair computers like Jonah Kagan explains here.
Since my UnderGrad. studies I have been coding. How could I then write essays? Let alone a blog. I wasn’t sure about my writing skills. After some thinking i thought i will wait another week, before I withdraw from this Science Communication subject. Meanwhile, I started exploring subject options that I had for enrolling in place of this one.
Week 2 started.I attended the week 2 seminar and workshop. Oh my! The projects. How will I ever be able to promote Fishes in Australia ? or Should i just choose iFish Search Engine?
Thanks to Jenny. She makes this subject so exciting that I started feeling interested and actually be willing to have a go at it. I also started looking forward to the projects.
That day I went back home and discussed the type of projects over dinner with my husband. Whose also a Software Engineer. Guess what he said after listening to the whole project list?
He told me me to withdraw from the subject and enrol in some different subject since I have no skills what so ever to do this Science Communication. I was shocked. He’s never suggested me to withdraw before. He’s the one who always pushes me and says I Know You Can Do It!
Why are we computer related people so scared to move out of our comfort zone? Why are we so reluctant to try to learn new skills that don’t relate to our current field? Why can’t we computer scientists be good at something different and new?
Studies have shown learning new skills actually makes mind sharper.
Denise Park of the University of Texas at Dallas says, “It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially. When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.”
“We need, as a society, to learn how to maintain a healthy mind, just like we know how to maintain vascular health with diet and exercise,” says Park. “We know so little right now.”
The study was carried out on around 220 aged adults ranging from 60 – 90. They were assigned to learn a new skill, a specific type of activity for a period three months.
Results showed improvement in memory of the adults that had been engaged in learning a new skill compared to the ones who stayed with in their comfort zone.
Not only they were assigned a new skill to learn but their environment was also changed to a different lifestyle.
“Our participants essentially agreed to be assigned randomly to different lifestyles for three months so that we could compare how different social and learning environments affected the mind,” says Park. “People built relationships and learned new skills — we hope these are gifts that keep on giving, and continue to be a source of engagement and stimulation even after they finished the study.”
If a person continues using skills that you are already good at, doesn’t challenge the brain enough compared to learning a new skill. When you become an expert at a skill it becomes more of an automatic processing, While learning a new skill requires “brain network” to work more efficiently.
The two fishes
At the end nor did i chose to promote Fishes of Australia nor iFish Search Engine. I left the two fishes and stepped out of my comfort zone and chose Market of Mind. I will be meeting new people from Zoology and Epidemiology. It would be a good out of routine exercise for a sharper mind!
So step out of your comfort zone. Try to learn a new skill whether its learning to play a guitar or just writing a blog!