RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Where are you and where are you going?
RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Analyzing and writing about my web of goals is good, but I by nature tend to use intuition when it comes to decision making. I've always turned up as ENFP when I've taken Internet personality tests :)

I was approached by a professor recently; he asked if I could help start a Mental Health Club at my school. My gut is telling me to say yes. I'm not exactly sure how this will play out, but I have faith that it's a good decision.

This journal is going to evolve a bit. As @AxelHeyst pointed out in a discussion in his journal, my "process" right now is mostly about cultivating good habits, mindset, and avoiding up totally fucking up my life (getting someone pregnant, getting into debt, etc). Even though I'm at a community college and live at home, I am determined to suck the marrow out of "college life" and have the most fulfilling experience I possibly can.

So I'll be talking less about finances and more about learning techniques, interesting side projects, the cultivation of friendships and community building.

Just to recap, I'd like to list my web of immediate priorities:
  • Maintain and improve peak physical, mental, and emotional health
  • Get straight A's and be a nursing department star
  • Build a cadre of true friends and experience my first romantic relationship
  • Turn the nascent Mental Health Club into something really kickass
This'll be fun!

bigato
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by bigato »

Based on what you know about yourself, how do you think you’ll react emotionally in case one or more of these goals are not reached?

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Probably be disappointed for a bit and then move on.

I like the Trichotomy of Control from William Irvine's book on Stoicism. There are three types of things:

1) Those which you fully control (mindset, effort, etc)
2) Those which you partially control (health, grades, most of the goals I've listed above)
3) Those which you do not control at all. (Climate change, financial disaster, etc)

It is logical to put time and effort into the first category. For the second category, you have to focus on genuinely doing the best job you possibly can. If you fail, that's life. But if you fail to do your best, that's on you. For the third category, it doesn't make sense to worry because you can't control it.

Unfortunately I'm not a Stoic sage and experience disruptions in my tranquility, but this is the mindset I try to adopt.

"You have a right to your action; you do not have a right to the fruit of your action."
- Bhagavad Gita

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

February 16 - Update

Web of Goals - Clarification and Updates

Broadly, my web of goals can be simplified into three main categories: school, health, and community. The subgoals within these categories are homeotelic and mutually reinforce each other. I will talk about progress, challenges, and future plans for each category in turn.

School

My long-term goal is to emerge at the top of my class as a star in the nursing field. More immediately, my goal is to get straight A's and learn the presented material thoroughly. Most of my classes are straightforward, and I am getting A's so far. The challenge here is my anatomy class, where the expectations for what we are supposed to learn are unclear. The entire class is struggling due to these unclear expectations, and we are planning to get a group together to have a conversation with the professor.

The other challenge I am facing is simply finding quiet, isolated spaces to study for long periods of time. I will spend time wandering around campus this week looking for better places to learn.

Because my major involves the study of human health, it reinforces the second category in my web of goals.

Health

This category can be subdivided into two main parts I am focusing on right now: weightlifting and meditation.

I weigh 140 lbs, am 5'8'', and am using the 5x5 StrongLifts weightlifting program. My recent lifts were:

Squat - 190
Overhead Press - 85
Barbell Row - 85
Bench Press - 120
Deadlift - 160

Squats are becoming very difficult for me, and don't think I've ever lifted much heavier than what I'm lifting now. I've always had a very skinny build, and I'd like to look up athletes with a similar build who are still able to progress on squats. A part of me thinks I'm nearing my genetic limit with squats, but I'm going to experiment and see how far I can go. The other lifts are slowly but surely progressing. Any advice would be appreciated.

As for meditation, I am still meditating every day, but it feels like my practice has been faltering. I attended a meditation event for several hours this morning and feel reinvigorated. This week, I will meditate every day at 11:00 am, even if just for a short time. I need more consistency in my daily practice.

Community

I am making it a priority to build deep and powerful friendships this year, and really build a community around myself. I am taking up a leadership position in a new Mental Health Club, with which I plan to organize meditation events and other things, so this should feed back into category #2. Not too many new things to report on this front.

Financials

As a full-time student with no income, the explicitly ERE portion of this journal sort of sits in the background. That said, I do want to progress towards ERE despite not making any money now. The best way to do this is by investing the savings that I have. Because I don't have a ton of money, (around $6,000), I want to invest in something highly liquid, so I can still have access to this money in case of an emergency. I am considering CD's through my bank, but I want to investigate further. Liquidity is the top priority here.

Another financial thing I have been considering is moving my money to a local credit union or something like that. I am reluctant to invest money because I find capitalism inherently exploitative, but after lots of back and forth with @AxelHeyst I've decided it's a morally acceptable thing to do provided that you work to make the harm:help ratio of your economic lifestyle as low as possible. That said, I am maintaining my ethical standards for investing high and prefer to invest in areas that cause the least amount of harm. Since I don't really know where the money in my savings account goes, I am going to do more research on my bank and see if I can find a better alternative.

DIY

I learned some basic bike repairs! Not a huge achievement, but DIY stuff is pretty foreign to me, so I feel happy to have gotten started.

Good to write to you all.

Peaceably,
RoamingFrancis

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

I trained bodybuilding style for several years, and then powerlifting for several years. My body is naturally about 165lbs, but I got it up to 190 with a lean bb build, and then 205 with a lean powerlifting build :D. 5’10”, so not far off from you in terms of natural build I think, maybe slightly more mesomorphic. No juice, always natural.

5x5 is great. Only question there is, are you going as intense as you possibly safely can? Results often come from that last 2% of effort you squeeze out. Are you psyching yourself up beforehand? Look at pictures of hardbodies to get a little test boost. Think about what you want and why you want it. Crank tunes that make you amped. Build a little pre workout ritual of entering beast mode. Don’t compromise safety and good form.

But to me, the lifting is the easy part. The hard part for gaining is the eating. Particularly if you’re a more slender build/physique. You *can* pack on strength (and mass, if you’re into that), but it’s going to take dedication in the kitchen. Genetic limits are a thing, but only at the elite .5% of the field level. How far down the rabbit hole of eating/nutrition for lifting have you gone? Do you have a daily target calorie number? Have you thought about the pro/fat/carb ratio you want to target? Do you let yourself get hungry ever? Do you time meals before and after workouts?

I don’t desire to be 185 any more, but I think the time I spent at that weight did me a lot of good in terms of muscle mass and overall physique, strength, connective tissue quality, etc. I would make the choice to bulk again, and might do some bulk cycles in the future when life situation allows it a bit better.

PS mostly ignore supplements. Protein powder and dextrose immediately after your workout is great, I recommend, but I suspect the main benefit is associating a tasty reward with doing a killer workout. Caffeine before a workout can be nice boost. Don’t waste money on supp pills etc.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Thanks for the advice.

I haven't gone nearly as far into nutrition rabbit hole as I would like. I think I undereat now - since I bike to school, it's annoying to pack a ton of food. As a result, I don't eat very much during the day. Maybe I can get some airtight containers and stockpile some stuff in my locker. I don't have a daily calorie target, pro/fat/carb ratio, etc.

I tend to eat fairly well - I mostly eat whole foods, don't consume much junk food, etc. However, I don't eat like a bodybuilder. I think diet will be my biggest challenge over the coming months.

I'll look into the protein powder too. I've never used anything like that, but I'm open to it if it helps.

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

Yep, I think you’ll see a significant change if you can up your clean food intake. Your body won’t want to grow if it’s burning more than it’s taking in.

The protein powder is really just an easy/convenient way to get a bit more protein (and calories) in. There’s a school of thought that pounding a post workout (PWO) shake with fast absorbing protein (whey) and fast sugar (dextrose) helps your muscles recover faster/better. But then go eat a nice big meal after.

But the main focus should be on whole foods (sounds like you’ve got that covered) and lots of it (room for improvement). Just some ballpark numbers for you, I’d aim for 20-30g protein per meal, ~6meals/day. No less than 3000 calories. Try to never be hungry, I don’t think your body will build much muscle if it’s starving. So that means you’re eating every 2-3 hrs.

I mostly “clean bulked”, meaning I avoided junk food and tried to have only a marginal calorie overage, rather than a lot over. A lot of tuna, brown rice, eggs, chicken, oats, pasta, veggies, etc. I mildly dirty bulked when I was focused only on strength, and my pwo shake involved ice cream, and I did whatever I could to get more calories basically. I packed all my meals so I would never go long periods of time without eating. Even if that meant filling a baggie with dry oats and scarfing it during my shift.

This style of eating is only good for bulking, that’s the only reason I’d eat this way. If you’re coasting or have other goals going on, drop this approach.

Also, tough to bulk while trying to minimize grocery bill. But it can be done.

RoamingFrancis
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

The main reason I undereat is because it's annoying to haul a bunch of food in my pack on my way to school. I really just need to do a better job about meal prep on weekends. There are some food vendors at the school. They'd be very convenient but I'm unsure about the quality of food or impact on the wallet.

I do have other goals too, as you can read about in the web stuff I've been talking about. The only lift where I really feel like I'm reaching my limit right now is the squat, because StrongLifts has you progress in squats twice as fast as all the other lifts. I think I might freeze the squat where it is for now, and let the other lifts catch up a bit. During this time I'll try to eat more, and I can readjust as needed.

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

Sorry - I meant if you have lifting/health/physiology goals other than bulking, drop the 6x/day eating habits as I doubt it's very healthy to keep up long term. You can eat to gain with other categories of goals going on in your life for sure (build community, be a boss-mode student, etc).

RoamingFrancis
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Gotcha. Thought you were getting at a goal triage sort of thing.

RoamingFrancis
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Refocusing and Moving Beyond Setbacks

Fucked up a couple times this week because of silly organizational mistakes. On two separate occasions I finished classwork, but forgot to bring the right folder to class, so I didn't get any points for work I did. Silly me.

Moving forwards, I'm keeping all of my stuff in my bag at all times. It'll make my bag heavier, but I have such a bad brain for organizing that the simplification will be worth it. Not beating myself up over this, just observing the obstacle and refocusing on my web.

School, Health, Community. Adelante.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

February Expenses

$182.13 - lab notebook
$19.83 - various notebooks
$2.00 - candy for my little sister
$00.18 - printing

Total: $204.14

My FAFSA is getting straightened out so I'm expecting a refund on all the school expenses from the past couple months. I spent way too much money on those notebooks; I don't know what I was thinking. The other expenses I'm happy with.

I am reading J.L. Collins' The Simple Path to Wealth. I appreciate the simplicity of his investing approach, and because I have limited financial savvy, I think I'll start by getting on the Vanguard bandwagon. I am willing to adapt my investing strategy as I learn more, but this seems to be a good place to start.

Potential problems: Collins approach rests on the belief that beating the market is impossible except in a handful of cases, but I have not seen him cite an outside authority to support this claim. So I'm a bit skeptical. Additionally, I'm not 100% on board that the market will continue growing throughout my lifetime. I think a collapse scenario is a legitimate possibility in my lifetime and I'd like to keep that in mind when deciding where to put my money.

That said, I am definitely incapable of beating the market with my current financial knowledge, so the strategy seems to be a good one for me. Additionally, the ability to "invest and forget about it" is very appealing. Does anyone have reading recommendations that have an opposite perspective of Collins?

Last week I was very focused on school and didn't spend as much time in other areas of my life. I didn't meal prep last weekend, which made the rest of the week more difficult. This week, I'll be sure to meal prep tomorrow, and I'll try to strike a better balance during my day of hardcore studying and social time.

I'm weighing the pros and cons of getting a job. On one hand, more money. On the other, less time. I'm also weighing getting a job against the possibility of taking more classes and graduating earlier. I'll keep updating this journal as my thoughts progress.

Peaceably,
Roaming Francis

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Coronavirus Update

Last night I typed a long update, but had a snafu and lost it :/ I'll retype the gist of what I had written.

All of my classes have been moved online due to the virus, and I have been suffering as a result. I live with my parents and five younger siblings, which means I have basically 0 access to a quiet workspace when I'm at home. There's been lots of stress and conflict here. My diet is suffering as well. I usually prepare healthy food to bring to school with me, but at home there is lots of junk food sitting around and it's easy to be tempted. I'm also an extrovert, and transferring all my social interactions to an online format has been really hard.

Intellectually I always realized the fragility of my family's situation, but now that there is a real crisis it has become experientially real. Some part of me expected another 5 to 10 years before something like this would hit.

This has really motivated me to be more focused on FIRE. I was enjoying my classes and making new friends, so previously I wasn't in a particular rush to graduate. Directly seeing the fragility and dependency of my current situation has lit a fire under my ass to graduate much quicker. There are a couple options. I could just go for the associate's in nursing instead of the bachelor's, which would let me start working earlier but would have a lower income. Alternatively, I could go full Steve Pavlina, be super hardcore, and do something crazy like graduate in 3 or 4 semesters.

Those two tactics aren't mutually exclusive. The main issue with the second one is fear. I am terrified if I had such a full schedule I would be hyperstressed and just crash and burn. Maybe facing that fear is all the more reason to do it. Does anyone have experience with graduating extremely quickly? @C_L, is an associate's degree in nursing worth anything, or does the industry want the full bachelor's?

I've decided I'm going to join the Vanguard cult. I'm not super interested in investing anyways, so it seems like a good strategy for the time being. Maybe at some point I'll change. Markets are low now too, so it's a good time to start investing. I've been procrastinating this and saying it'll get done "eventually." It will be done by Saturday and I will post an update to keep myself accountable.

Thanks for reading. Please comment, give advice, etc.

Peaceably,
Roaming Francis

AxelHeyst
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

I couldn't imagine schooling (or even just sheltering in place) with 7 family members. Do you have any access to a physical space you can close off and have it be yours? (Your own room?)

To push your notion of getting in to your career faster, have you examined (or re-examined) the path of going to college and getting a degree at all? (The autoserved top post on the blog is relevant today, "The Secret of Education"). Perhaps with your drive, dropping out of college now (ish, I bet it's mighty hard to get a job anywhere in the world right now) and pursuing a field that doesn't require a degree at all, combined with radical frugality, would get you where you want to go faster?

I like the idea of going Scott Young and graduating in a short amount of time. You'd have to figure out the family/living situation though, as having the space, time, and distance from drama would be critical to success. Also, to deal with the fear, is there a way you could do a "pilot" week or two of the designed ultralearning program, to see if you think it's doable?

ertyu
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by ertyu »

On the other hand, medical personnel, especially young medical personnel, is going to be in a lot of demand very soon. Have heard of medical students being pulled out of the last 2 years of their 4-year degrees and being thrown directly to the wolves. There will be demand at a time when the risks and dangers of working in the field would never be more apparent. Pursuing studies in the field now is smart. Even with a 2-yr degree, you'll be ready to join the working world right after the first big wave of corona deaths is over.

About Steve Pavlina-ing it: he's a guy who discovered how low the requirements to pass most courses actually are. In general, students would not be failed unless they egregiously left the university no other option. I would encourage you to try. You can always scale back, negotiate extensions on deadlines if needed, etc.

Edit 2: what distance learning options are there that you can take advantage of? Don't limit your thinking to one university, or even to one country. Many countries offer long distance degrees in english. It might be possible to take prerequisite classes long distance from a european, australian, or even indian university cheaper, then transfer credits.

RoamingFrancis
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

@AxelHeyst I have my own room, but it's a basement room with the TV directly outside, so I have little "real privacy." Things seem to be settling down as people realize how long we'll have to be living like this though. I'm leaning hard into my meditation practice for sanity and am setting up a home retreat this weekend.

I won't switch fields soon. I spent a year and a half after high school working, traveling, and taking gen eds before I finally decided on a field. Now I'm in it and genuinely interested in learning as much as I can. I strongly considered doing the trades instead, so going to college was a major decision for me and I want to see it through. Also, @ertyu has a good point about now being a particularly good time to be entering medicine.

In regards to some sort of ultralearning project, did Steve Pavlina do well in his classes or just scrape by in record time? I should look into that. A pilot period would be a good idea. Maybe I could do the first two weeks with a bunch of classes and if it's too much drop within the refund window.

As for distance learning, I have no clue. No clue where to start either. I'll do some Googling.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

I am moving forward with the idea of finishing my degree as quickly as possible. Life is short and I am young - I don't want to spend all my youth getting a degree.

I'm putting up the following links for my own reference:

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/ ... semesters/
https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/ ... semesters/
https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2016/0 ... arn-diy-1/

RoamingFrancis
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Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Ultralearning Statistics

Mashallah! I've gotten my statistics professor to agree to let me teach myself the rest of the semester using Khan Academy and the textbook. As long as I show up to take the tests, he'll mark me as present during the other online classes, regardless of whether I'm there or not. As such, I'm going to use this opportunity to teach myself the rest of the course in as little time as possible.

I'm using this as an opportunity for a mini-ultralearning project as inspired by Scott Young's MIT challenge. I want to graduate and pursue ERE as early as possible, so this will be a great experiment in rapid learning.

Saturday is the first day of nine days of spring break. During this time, my goal will be to master the entire Khan Academy statistics course. I will be employing the same strategies that Scott Young applied in the MIT challenge, namely:

1) Watching the example videos at whatever speed is most understandable, rewinding when something is unclear
2) Doing the practice problems
3) Using the Feynman technique to find and patch gaps in my understanding

My hope is to use this to finish my stats course early, and use the newfound free time to finish my other courses early or to make some money. Worst case scenario I'll fail miserably and have a better idea of what strategies to use the next time I embark on a rapid learning project. I'm excited about this and hoping it works out well.

Peaceably,
Roaming Francis

AxelHeyst
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Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by AxelHeyst »

Woo! I'm excited for you. Best case you win, worst case you learn (so next time you can win). Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

RoamingFrancis
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:43 am

Re: RoamingFrancis' Path to ERE

Post by RoamingFrancis »

Thanks! I'm excited too - math was always my weakest subject so this is a real Renaissance moment for me :)

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