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I'm not an MIT grad, but this has been my approach over the past few years when I decided I needed to educate myself on more paradigms rather than more languages. I found it less helpful to expand my skillset of similarly-styled languages and far more helpful to learn languages that are fundamentally different than the ones I already knew. Basically, I decided I should learn Lisp instead of yet another C-style language.

The end result is nice little feedback loop of far better understanding of the theory and concepts behind the code that I write feeding into writing better code, which then feeds back into better understanding. So now when I help peers (especially friends still in college), I focus less on the language and more on helping the concept click for them.

I can't say how well this works in practice in a university -- it sure seems to work for MIT -- but I know that in my professional life it has made just about everything I do far easier to reason about and my work is all the better for it.

Yeah, Lisp especially is one of those mind-expanding languages, I think everyone should at least play around with it at some point.

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