There’s always more to learn

I want to use this blog post as a way to reflect on something that provides me with a constant source of pleasure and anxiety. And no, it’s not Game of Thrones. It is the fact that there is so much out there to learn. Now before you think I’ve been spending too much time inhaling Delhi’s traffic fumes, I want to assure the reader that this is grounded in real-life experiences, both at work and at home.

Due to the accessibility of various mediums of technology on a 24/7 basis, most prominent among them the Internet, it is now easier than ever to feel ignorant about any given topic. Every time I feel like I have educated myself thoroughly about a given government housing policy, a dusty old report turns up that changes the entire picture. Every time I feel like I have researched possible job opportunities to death, out of the blue, through chatting with a friend or a random advertisement in the Economist, many more opportunities will pop out. And every time I feel like I’ve gotten a hold on any genre of music, Pandora (sadly not in India) or Spotify will remind me of the wealth of artists that I’ve never heard of. For another example, just the other day, I heard of a statistical analysis program that sounds perfectly suited to my and mHS’ needs. Never before had I heard about this program and were it not for a chance conversation, I would have never heard of it.

Now what does this make me, aside from a huge nerd? Should I just be happy with the amount of knowledge that I can accumulate without going out of my way? Does the constant surprise at new things just reflect poor research skills on my part? Is the information accessible to us too disorganized? Too many questions and again, not enough knowledge to answer them. Also, in light of all that people have produced in terms of literature, in the development sector alone, it would be suicide to attempt to read everything and become knowledgeable about every topic that there is, even within a certain subset of topics, such as housing in my case. What to do then?

To borrow from the British government in 1939 “Keep Calm and Carry On”, which, aside from great life advice, also fits the conundrum described above quite well. I will probably never find every pdf there is about the effect of the Indian government’s Slum Improvement and Clearance Act of 1956 on vulnerable groups in Indian society, but I can certainly do my best. When I fall short, I must accept my mistakes and oversight and try harder next time. This is in itself a tall order, but one that will keep me on my toes, as best as possible. However, while we’re at it, does anyone have some cool resources for research organization, software or general tips?

Sorry for being a bit off-topic, but this has been on my mind for a bit too long.

Also, the picture up top is from my travels to Meghalaya with fellow fellows Krupa, Aarthi, Jenn, Archana, Sukanya and Anudip’s Angela. It was a great time and once again reminded me of the stunning diversity and beauty of this country. I am eternally thankful for the opportunity to see so many parts of the country and learns so much.

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