School of Life: Autodidactism

I think eschewing school and learning stuff on your own is super impressive.

I am likely to want to listen MORE to someone who is self-taught – why? Because they did it out of pure love of their subject – they threw themselves into it, not taking the easy route, not paying for a piece of paper – they live it, love it, drink it, devour it. Whatever it is. Generally the work produced is highly original and innovative.

Not saying that having a coach, or a mentor is a bad thing – I’m just talkingĀ  typical school. It’s insane the amount of money people pay for schooling on things they could learn from BOOKS or VOLUNTEERING.

I took a vet assistant course a few years ago – six grand. Six months. Once I was working in a clinic I realized I could have learned everything I needed to know by volunteering at a clinic. Yeah I wouldn’t have made money volunteering, but I could have saved that six grand! I could have worked another job and lost nothing!

Obviously some things you have to go to school for – I wouldn’t trust a self-taught surgeon. But I’m not talking about those sorts of things. I also took a course in multimedia. What a rip-off. I could have learned all that stuff on my own, through tutorials, books, etc. That school doesn’t even exist anymore – if you’re going to go to school, be wary of where you go. If you really love the curriculum, go for it. I am not hating on all education, far from it, I just mean it is possible to do it yourself. Some people think if they have no money or privilege that they are screwed – wrong.

Another problem with typical school is the time-line, intense schedule, and disruption of other facets of life – so many people screw their health this way, do not sleep, are constantly anxious, worried about marks, and cramming info into their heads that they do not retain for more than 24 hours, just to pass. That is not good learning! Self-teaching means go at your own pace!

I know that teaching yourself still means learning from others – books are written by other people, but they are passing along knowledge – and if you have a library, you have access for free. If you are on the internet, almost anything can be found for free – not saying it’s right to pirate things, however, if you learn something from someone and then say, make a living out off what you learned – you can go back and pay that person, right?

Some of the most amazing people out there are/were completely self-taught. You don’t need a formal education and student loans that will take you decades to pay off (except for very specific things) – MOST things out there are doable on your own and that money you would have spent can go to better things like TRAVEL – which is the best education you can get.

Books are your friends, man. Get used to reading lots of them. Immerse yourself. If the books you want or need are not at your library, do inter-library loans – lifesavers. If you want to buy cheap, go to bookdepository.com – amazon is good, too, but bookdepository is the bomb, and then you won’t be supporting anything other than bookselling (if you buy from amazon, they have some questionable products as well, as in the whole debacle recently getting them to stop selling whale meat, and they did).

Volunteer, read, and DO.

Just start something, who cares if you know how? I used to not do anything until I’d read enough – well, now I just start and learn as I go. Even if you do go to school, you don’t stop learning once you’re done (I hope). I used to think I had to know how to use wordpress or whatever to start a blog – I stopped thinking that way, fuukkit. Moved on, signed up, started writing. The fancy-pants stuff can be learned along the way.

Some people won’t do ANYthing unless they have the right gear, clothes, schooling – some people won’t even go to SCHOOL unless it’s the BEST one. Really? Okay, that’s a choice, but I don’t think it really matters unless it’s something super elite like being a surgeon or a lawyer. For real.

Some people won’t even start exercising unless they have the right shoes. Man, just go to the thrift store, or post on freecycle. Until you get a better shoe, go for a jog in your boots. Who cares? Excuses, excuses. I danced around my bedroom to some crazy tunes with a hulahoop for like 45 minutes today – the music was so good I couldn’t help myself. I am no expert with my hoop, and I don’t have much room for tricks, but that didn’t stop me, no way. I was too into it.

I see no problem taking classes – but this is a lot different than going to a long-term, very expensive university or college. With classes you can pick and choose your specific subjects. It blows my mind that some people go to university/college and don’t even know what they want to do with their lives!

Basically I think that if you are wildly passionate about something, you will learn by experimenting, putting yourself out there, and practice – these are generally free things – but if you are REALLY dedicated, you will be successful with or without schooling.