Hi, I’m Denise from Germany, I just turned 19 and study maths at university. Right now, I spend most of my time with that and caring for my 3-year-old daughter. I know LessWrong for almost two years now, but never got around to write. However, I’m more or less involved with parts of the LessWrong and the Effective Altruism community, most of them originally found me via Okcupid (I stated I was a LessWrongian), and from there, it expanded.
I grew up in a small village in the middle of nowhere in Germany, very isolated without any people to talk to. I skipped a grade and did extremely well at school, but was mostly very unhappy during my childhood/teen years. Though I had free internet access, I had almost no access to education until I was 15 years old (and pregnant, and no, that wasn’t unplanned), because I had no idea what to look for. I dropped out of school then and prepared for the exams -when I had time (I was mostly busy with my child)- I needed to do to be allowed to attend university. In Germany that’s extremely unusual and most people don’t even know you can do it without going to school.
When I was 15, I discovered enviromentalism (during pregnancy, via people who share my parenting values) and feminism. Since then, I seriously cared about making the world „a better place“. I was already very nerdy in my special fields of interest then, though still very uneducated and lacking basic concepts. Thankfully, I found LessWrong when I was just 17 and became very taken with it. I started to question my beliefs, became a utilitarian, adopted a somewhat transhumanist mindset and the usual, but the breakthrough only came last year after I started spending time with people from the community. Since then I am totally focused. Most people who have met me this year or at the end of 2012 are very surprised by this, I noticed that a lot of people completely overestimate my past selves (which is somewhat relieving, though I still feel like everyone from the LW/EA who is usually quite taken with me overestimates me). Until the beginning of this year, I even considered enviromentalism the most important problem (which is completely ridiculous for me now). Well, I had been a serious enviromentalist for three years, then I talked half an hour with another LessWrongian about it, who explained to me why it isn’t the most important problem, so I dropped it on the same day.
After thinking about it myself and talking to several LW/EAs (e.g. 80,000hours) I decided it’s the best thing for me to study maths (my minor will be in computer science).
People always tell me I worry too much about my future and I am already at a very good position, being so driven, etc. but I often think I have lost so many years now and there is so much to read and so much I don’t know and so little time. Especially considering that I lose about 70% of my time awake to caring for my daughter (which people do never take into account at all. They just have no idea. Before last October, it was even 90%). I often felt extremely incompetent and lazy because other people get so much done in comparison to me. Well, I do feel a bit better after actually thinking about how big my disadvantages are, but it’s still quite bad. Several people have asked me to consider internships, etc., but I mostly still feel too incompetent, and the even bigger problem, too socially awkward.
Rationality was very helpful in the past with personal problems (e.g., I have a very static mindset, which hasn’t really been a problem so far because I always was able to do things despite of it, without having to work for them, but now, doing my maths degree, it doesn’t work as well as in the past) and has heavily reduced them, though enough still remain. My productivity has increased a lot. There are a lot of things to do waiting for me, I can’t afford losing time to personal inconveniences. (Though anyway most of my time and energy goes into my child and there isn’t really much I can do about that.)
I’m very happy that I found LessWrong and like-minded people. If you have reading recommendations, please tell me. I am familiar with all the basic material (the Sequences, of course, the EA stuff, the self-improvement stuff, Bostrom’s work, Kahneman...). If you have any other advice, I would also love to hear it.
As another LW’er with kids in Germany, welcome!
„a better place“
„a better place“
It isn’t customary that kind of quotation marks in English; “these ones” are usually used in typeset materials, but most people just use “the ones on the keyboard” on-line.
sich um ein kleines Kind alleine zu kümmern ist schon viel. Wenn Du dann auch noch studierst und EA und LW Meetups machst ist das schon ziemlich viel. Ich bewundere Deine Leistung.
Ich habe einiges Material zu rationaler Erziehung auf meiner Homepage verlinkt, das Du Dir evtl. mal ansehen möchtest:
Ein Tipp (obwohl Du vermutlich weißt und nur nicht umsetzen konntest): Die Synergieeffekte bei der Kindererziehung sind beträchtlich. Es ist erheblich einfacher für zwei Eltern für zwei Kinder zu sorgen als 2x alleinerziehend mit Kind. Entsprechend in größeren Gruppen (das sieht man natürlich meist nur wenn sich mehrere Familien treffen). Hast Du keine Möglichkeit das zu nutzen?
Du darfst mir gerne jederzeit Fragen stellen.
Gruß aus Hamburg
I don’t think it’s appropriate to write a comment in a language other than English. You could have sent a PM.
A yes. You are probably right.
How comes you did notice so quickly this being such an old thread?
There’s a Recent Comments column to the right.
Welcome Denise! :)