It’s been about two years since I stepped in a room with the sole purpose of learning. When I graduated in 2016, I didn’t think I would miss the mild to intense brain churning that comes with being in a lecture. I wasn’t avoiding it though of course (I’m always looking for learning opportunities), but I haven’t been aware of many seminars or lectures–or when I have been, it’s either been at a location I couldn’t get to or came with a price tag that I couldn’t really afford. Online classes are another thing–educative, yes, but not quite as engaging as a classroom.
A few weeks ago, I was been lucky enough to be able to attend a once in a lifetime event–Professor Jennifer Widom, Dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford University, was conducting a short course centered around Big Data. The sessions were held at the Henry Sy Sr. Hall at the De La Salle University in Manila, with over 400 people in attendance.
In the four days of the lectures, we were able to cover areas from spreadsheets and visualization to Machine Learning and Data Mining–topics that, in a regular curriculum, typically have 1 semester/term dedicated to each. It was incredibly brain melting, but also amazing.
Aside from the learning I got from the topics themselves, it was really interesting being able to take a class taught by someone from another country–let alone a dean at one of the best universities in the United States. Some of the points I’ve been taught at some point in college, but this time around were explained in a completely different way. In a way, it was easier to take everything in (although that may be chalked up to my having prior knowledge.
I was incredibly happy to attend a lecture of a lifetime, re-ignite my passion for data science, get back to a learning environment (even for just a week), and have a break from life used in a very productive way. Overall, it was an incredible experience and I am thankful to Professor Widom for taking the time to share her knowledge to us and to everyone she visits in her Instructional Odyssey.
’til next time,