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The day I stop learning is the day I die My insatiable need to learn new skillsLetter

BY Gabriel Mata | THE RIDER

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It didn’t start until I was in my sophomore year of high school; I’d just dropped out of the marching band and was just an ordinary student. The thing about that is I didn’t want to be an ordinary student. I wanted something to do.

Being in band, I already had an inclination to music. My brother had recently moved out and he’d left his Fender acoustic guitar, so I decided to pick that up.

I’d spend the rest of my sophomore evenings practicing guitar. I’d use YouTube and various other websites to teach myself chords, songs and scales.

That was all well and good, but something in me wanted more. I researched and found myself a ukulele that I could afford and bought that the first chance I got. Another few months of nothing but learning the ukulele (and plenty of bloody fingers from strumming the ukulele).

My junior year was no different. Piano, mandolin, ocarina, anything I could get my hands on. My thirst only grew. Senior year, my interests moved to film and photography. I would spend countless hours researching angles, lenses, cameras and writing. I didn’t even get my hands on a camera until a year later.

I’ve learned to build a PC on my own. I’ve learned how wireless electricity works and am in the process of building a Tesla coil. It hasn’t always been apparent, but I’ve always had that lust to learn anything and everything I can.

All these things that I now know, they represent who I am. I’m no longer just Gabriel Mata the computer science student, I’m now known to more as Gabriel Mata the photographer, or Gabriel Mata the musician. Even with this wealth of knowledge that I have now, I think it’s important to never stop learning.

The reason you don’t usually laugh at a joke twice is because you’ve learned the punch line, and the reason that you don’t go to class or work naked is because you’ve learned that it’s not socially acceptable (at least in our society).

So, whether it be little things like hearing a joke for the first time, or picking up a camera and deciding that you want to be a photographer, I encourage you to never stop learning, because I know that the day I stop learning is the day that I die.

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