Learning New Skills

I’m writing this at a little after midnight on a Wednesday night (Thursday morning?). If you’re wondering why on Earth I’m writing a blog post at this time of night, the answer is really quite simple: I’ve spent the last two hours trying to teach myself how to make GIFs.

And, okay, I can make GIFs. That’s not really up for debate. There are GIFs that I have made currently saved on my computer. The problem? I can’t make good GIFs. I cannot figure out how to make them less blurry or change the colouring or really do anything other than just… make them.

Is this an accomplishment? Well, what it really means is that I’m able to follow incredibly simple online tutorials so… probably not. The real accomplishment if you ask me? Actually managing to correctly download the GIMP extension that allows you to make GIFs. Now that was harder than actually making subpar GIFs. And also required that I follow a simple YouTube tutorial… so maybe scratch that as an accomplishment.

But half of those two hours were spent trying to download the extension, so really, it was no easy feat.

If you’re wondering if I’m just going to complain about the fact that I can’t make my GIFs less blurry for the rest of this post… the answer is probably yes. The answer is also that I probably haven’t found the right tutorial yet to teach me how to fix them. The answer is most likely that I should not be doing this at almost one in the morning when I’m too tired to find said tutorial. But I have better things to do during the day. Like sleep.

The point of this post (before it became me rambling about GIFs and complaining about sleep habits which are my own fault) was to talk about learning a new skill. Because it’s not easy. And it’s not something to take up lightly at ten o’clock at night when you know you’re a perfectionist. But it is one thing: rewarding.

Now, it’s probably not the best time to take up learning a new skill. All your essays are due soon and finals are coming out and really, it’s the last full month of school. Maybe spending your spare time learning to make GIFs or surfboard or play the guitar isn’t the best way to relax. Fair enough. But if you’re bored and you do have time on your hands and there’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn to do… then go for it.

We spend our lives procrastinating things that we really want to do. Especially if the things we want to do seem hard (spoiler alert: making GIFs is mildly hard) and are a little out of our comfort zone (working with computer programs that aren’t Word? Definitely out of my comfort zone). But when it comes down to it, we need to take the time to learn the things we want to learn, the things school may or may not teach us, the things that might have nothing to do with our majors or minors or extracurriculars. Some skills are just fun to have. Some skills you just wish you had. Whatever the case, go ahead and take the first steps towards learning a few of them.

Your friends in this mission?

  1. Google – You can Google literally everything. A world of knowledge is at your fingertips.
  2. YouTube – One YouTube tutorial has already saved my life tonight. Another will probably fix all my problems tomorrow.
  3. The Library – The point of the library is that it has information and articles on stuff that might be useful to you. Check it out.
  4. Your Brain – Look, I am the first to admit that I am not at all a tactile learner. But, quite frankly, the easiest way to learn things is sometimes to just screw around with them until they work. Your brain is your biggest asset. Don’t let it get in your way and make you think you can’t do things. You can.

And now, do you want to see some of the crappy GIFs I made tonight? Of course you do.

So the first one is a little too fast, the one in the middle is my favourite but it’s blurry as all get out, and the bottom one is arguably the best if only I could do something about that lighting? All in all, not bad for two hours work, I don’t think.

It is now officially one in the morning and I do have to sleep sometime, so goodnight (or good morning, good afternoon, good evening depending on when you’re reading this) and happy learning!

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