Life is Education 2017: My education is featured in a chapter on grit, self-directed learning, and the power of rule-breaking for the 2017 book Mindshift by Barbara Oakley. Dr. Oakley is the creator of Coursera’s Learning How to Learn, a practical and valuable course. Things don’t always work out the way you expect. I was raised in rural Maryland, where my parents were caretakers of a trailer park.