I explored a lot throughout this year. I listened to podcasts, read a bit more than usual and completed three different certification courses online. The last part made me realise what learning process I want to have for myself. As much as I appreciate school and college, I know for a fact that one, structured education all over the world is weird and two, if it is just about learning then there are far better ways to do that. In fact, I think I have a vision for how I want to learn going forward.
Most learning is planned, and I find it somewhat frustrating. People only take up courses that benefit their résumé going forward in one direction. They just read books that add to their jargon from one particular field. That isn’t learning to me. It is a how-to guide to building a great CV that lands you a great job. While that is how things are and I am not against it in any sense, I just don’t see myself doing that. Not now, at least. In fact, I see myself at the opposite end of that spectrum.
If you look at my résumé or my imitation of one on my LinkedIn, you’ll notice that it’s slightly stretched in every direction possible. There’s a bit of design through experience; then there’s a base of programming through my course and well, a lot of writing on the side as an active hobby. That plethora of randomness is probably the reason most of my internship interviews back in summer were rather interesting. One interviewer had to ask me outright, “What do you want to do here? Your résumé has some bit of everything we do”.
I didn’t know how to answer that question. My résumé wasn’t a functional one as taught in the mandatory Professional Communication class. Instead, my CV was all over the place. However, I found a better opportunity there and said, “Whatever you’d have me do, given my terms are changed as per the work I’m assigned and not for the profile I applied to”.
I got that internship with an adjusted stipend. I was unable to do it ultimately, but I learned what I like to call the first chapter of the more significant lesson – Do and Learn. Don’t Think Twice.
It was from that little moment that my definition of learning changed. My dabbling in everything I could do enabled me for a better understanding of everything. In fact, I realised that I learned the most when I started learning on my own or through a guided MOOC course. I completed two Coursera certifications recently. One is about Modern Art, and the other is for Philosophy. Earlier in 2017, I finished a Udacity Android Basics Nanodegree. I have my eye on a couple of Nanodegrees and some further courses, but none of them is explicitly related. I also have a huge reading list that I plan to finish soon.
Most people I talk to tell me, “You should be able to connect the dots”, but I don’t see the point. Yes, maybe you can apply things you learned as a graphics designer to say, your attempts at photography. However, that is only because both share a common domain which is visual art. You can obviously play with subjects, principles and ideas in that sense. However, I don’t know why learning everything you can learn should make the slightest sense as a whole.
You’re a human being with way less time than you think you do. You’re in your prime, ready to learn and explore so what are you waiting for? That is my question. That question is only valid if your end goal is learning and not acquiring employment or a job or anything else. Obviously, you need the money. Hell, no one is allergic to money. The question then is not whether employment exists on your priority list instead it is about where it is on that list. Is it above your idea of learning or is it below? Is your money a means to your knowledge or is your learning a means to money? Both of which are perfectly fine. It’s just that I relate to the former.
To me, I don’t give a shit if I can never prove how Philosophy and knowing some things about the philosophical process add value to say, me as a computer application undergraduate because that is not a question I’m willing to ask myself. I don’t want to restrict my learning, at least, for the next couple of years. In fact, I don’t want to study anything after college, but I want to learn.
The essence here is that in my experience with the education system, I’ve learned that all it focuses on is getting you ready for employment in the field of your choice which is great. However, it is the great which I’m not looking for, not the current version of me with the current mindset. I cannot say for sure if this mentality will exist same time next year because I know for a fact that I’d be learning and when you learn, you evolve and so will I.