In Fall of 2009, I took a class offered at UT called 'Gems and Gem Minerals.' After learning extensively about the many types of gems and their composition, unique properties and ways to identify them, we learned how to actually facet gems ourselves.
This was one of the most unique and interesting challenges that I undertook while studying at school. This process allowed my visual and creative skills to manifest into a tangile product, instantly. A hands-on approach has always been an important part of my education, from the early projects in the backyard with my father, to working with my hands in Engineers Without Borders, I have always been an active learner.
Though the level of equipment needed to actually facet gems is fairly extensive, I plan on keeping my interest in gems throughout my life.