Can't do ALL THE THINGS right now.
December 15, 2012 3:09 PM Subscribe
In 2013 I will have 2-3 hours a week to spend learning one or more of the following: French, guitar, advanced math (stats, calc). Which will benefit most from this limited amount of study effort?
posted by riddler to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
(Long and poorly edited. Sorry.)
Some background: In 2013 I will be spending most of my time outside of work studying for the CPA exam. I originally planned to ignore all other pursuits, but that's not realistic for me - it's healthy for me to have another semi-intellectual hobby to step away to (I already knit, but that's something I do to feel semi-productive when I watch TV), and planning in advance means it's less likely to make me obsess to the point of ignoring my CPA studying.
So I plan on spending 2-3 hours a week on another hobby (or maybe 2?) to keep my sanity mostly intact. I don't have a specific goal for any of these, because then it'd be too easy to get sucked in. But I'm still not sure which to choose:
French: I played around on duolingo for a week and really enjoyed it. My goal is currently more to be able to read/write the language than to speak it, so I would supplement duolingo with a book on French for reading comprehension and a couple of French language books. I am pretty good with languages and I had a year of French in college, so this isn't starting from scratch.
Guitar: I have a guitar. I can play 15 chords. Or so. I haven't picked it up for a while. I can't afford lessons at the moment. I don't have a specific style I'm interested in, but being the analytical person that I am (not like this question is an indication of that or anything), and because I don't have a natural ear for music, I'd like to learn some music theory (I have a book on music theory for guitar but I haven't read it). Also I'd want to learn to read music beyond the basic vague notion of it I got from learning piano in the 2nd grade. I have a classical guitar playing book that would work for this purpose. I guess working through these two books would be what I'd spend my time on for guitar.
Advanced math: I'm a little late to the game with Khan Academy, but I found it recently and it's fantastic. I had a semester of Stats in college, and I got an A but didn't really understand it. And I've always regretted stopping at precalc in high school. So for this hobby I would be working through the Khan Academy lessons. On the off chance I finish those, I'd probably delve into stats a bit more.
Guitar seems like it'd use a different part of my brain at least, and that's a plus, but the learning curve is a lot steeper (for me), and I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with that level of frustration. Maybe it's worth putting off until I have time and money to devote to lessons. On the other hand, I feel like I could learn placement of a bunch of notes on the fretboard and that would make things a lot easier once I do have more time to devote to practicing.
French sounds like the next best to me, but when I studied foreign languages in the past, I spent close to 2 hours a day learning and practicing. My progress was usually pretty quick. I honestly don't know if 15 minutes a day is even worth it - I've never tried that. I just worry that I'll spend 2 hours a week but never accumulate the knowledge or vocabulary needed.
Math: none of the above problems apply, but it's the one that would feel the most like studying. Definitely interested enough to learn despite this, but would need to find ways to add some extra fun to it.
Once I pass the exams, I hope to have time to devote to all of these things! I just want to feel like I'm making progress on one of my other goals instead of letting this damn test take over my life completely. I use the term 'goal' here loosely: I can't have specific goals for any of these hobbies next year if I want to keep them contained to a few hours a week. Also note that I fully plan on making time to be brain dead in front of the TV, go out with friends, and take care of myself.
tl;dr: I want to make some progress in either math, French, or guitar in a year while only spending 2-3 hours a week studying/practicing. What's my best option?
Bonus: other resources for any of these?