Learning Unexpected Things Through the TED Talk

I enjoyed this TED talk and learned unexpected new things through it. Although not getting the topic I originally wanted, I still ended up with a cool topic and four responsible team members. In this TED talk, we explored the relationship between millennials and the financial market.

As a typical CS student, I have little knowledge in the field of finance. I learned a lot from my teammates, who are experts in the field of finance, accounting, and statistics. They were eager and passionate to help the audience realize the unfriendliness of the financial market towards millennials, and share potential investment options with the audience.

I was assigned the task of introducing Bitcoin to the class. At first, I was not very fond of the topic, because my knowledge of Bitcoin was limited to a distorted impression of it. I thought of it as a sketchy, mysterious, and illegitimate form of money that only geeks, hackers, and criminals care about. However, after some research, I gained insights into Bitcoin and really understood what it is. It changed my perspective of Bitcoin, and I was pleased to share my findings with the class.


I found out that most of my first impressions of Bitcoin are, though not entirely wrong, far from the truth. Bitcoin is being used widely around the world as a secure and anonymous alternative to conventional currencies, and is being recognized as a legal form of payment in some countries. Bitcoin, initially cheap, has become valuable (in fact, very, very valuable). It opened my eyes, because I would have never imagined that a thing that is rarely talked about in the news or among my friends can be such a hidden treasure.

Through this TED talk, I not only acquired knowledge regarding Bitcoin, I also learned a lot about my future investment options from my cohorts. Also, by doing research on the UWaterloo library website, I learned how to find relevant journal articles through the search engine.


This experience changed my perspective towards this course as well. I used to think of it as a course to fulfill the faculty requirement, but now I view it as an environment to learn things which are not usually taught in STEM classrooms.

This TED talk reminds me of the time I had in Toastmasters Leadership Program back in high school. At first, I disliked it, and kept quiet unless it was mandatory for me to speak. A two-hour meeting felt like an eternity.

Gradually, however, my perspective of the program started to shift. I noticed that the people in the program are friendly and open-minded, always eager to listen and help me to learn. I was more willing to speak up. By the end, I was one of the most active participants in the program.

In retrospect, the program was a precious learning experience, for I overcame the fear of public speaking through it. However, if I had held on to the wrong initial belief that the program was boring or stopped going altogether, I would have wasted a great opportunity to learn and grow.

In all, it is crucial to keep an open mind all the time. This way, you will learn more things than you can ever imagine.

Published by tonyzhanguwaterloo

Anything computer sciency

One thought on “Learning Unexpected Things Through the TED Talk

  1. I completely agree. I used to hate math (I did!), but then learning about the beauty of math and even coding made me realize that closed-mindedness is a form of self-harm. I am glad you got so much from your own talks and others. However, I can;t say I am surprised – you are clearly a person who loves to learn.


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