Updated: Aug 17
I have always loved education; from being really bad at Maths to becoming one of the best and even teaching others in the process. Also, I love that you can go from knowing nothing to being very knowledgeable in a subject. That's fascinating!
For a very long time, I thought gaining knowledge and skills only happened in a school setting but I was wrong.
Although I love learning, I have quickly realised I don't like how students learn in school; it's more like they are being prepared for exams and not the outside world.
This brings me to our topic for this article: how can you own your education? Let's talk about 5 ways to do that.
1. Understand your education is in your hands.
Whether you hate going to school or not, your education is totally up to you. I always thought my family had to decide for me what would become of me. However, when there were unfortunate circumstances, I got stuck without knowing what to do with myself. I went back and forth for almost 6 years without any direction.
It's important then to understand that your education is in your hands. You don’t have to leave your education in the hands of your teachers, school or the government. Teachers generally only teach what's in the curriculum and so your learning is limited to what you are taught. It's absolutely important to know this. With this knowledge you can view your education differently.
2. Create your own curriculum
When I talk about creating your own curriculum, I don't mean forgoing what you are being taught in school. For me I use the school's curriculum as a guide. To create your own curriculum, you need to first know what you want to learn and then make a plan towards that.
I got stuck for a long time thinking that school was the only way to become what I wanted to be. I wasted so many years waiting to go to university when I could have done my own thing.
This is how you create your own curriculum
Think about the end goal. What do you want to learn? For example, becoming a Project Manager.
Write down the skills required by going through job boards and reading about it online or speaking with people already doing what you want to do.
Gather all the courses you need to take from school, online courses, Bootcamps, etc.
3. Take courses outside of your studies
In December 2019, I decided to take charge of my education and life by learning how to design logos and since then I have taken courses to improve myself and my craft. What is being taught at school is equally important but you can't rely on it alone. I have had people tell me they didn't learn anything after their university education. Although we could say the teachers are at fault but we can't blame them entirely. Students also have a part to play. These days, if you think the school is not doing well enough, instead of complaining try to do something for yourself because it's all about you and your future.
4. Commit to learning
Learning is fun when you know there's no exam that might determine what becomes of you. But it can also be quite challenging when you are learning on your own. This is why you need to commit to it and be disciplined to see it to completion. You can put in place systems like setting smart goals and making sure you maximise the benefits from the courses.
You could also have an accountability partner as I did. When I was taking my design course, I had a friend who checked up on me at the end of every month to see how far I had come. Doing same might help.
5. Put it into practice
Learning only takes place when you understand the subject and can apply it in real life. I am currently taking a project management course online and every time I learn something new I apply to the projects at The Better Me Projects(TBMP), a nonprofit organisation for students. Also, I have been able to apply my Business Intelligence Fundamentals course at school to create a report on how our webinars are doing at TBMP.
When you practice what you study, you feel empowered and also quickly understand where you fall short.
This is how you own your education. Of course the list is not exhaustive. I would like to hear from you; how do you own your future?
To learn more, join The Better Me Projects, a nonprofit organisation empowering and equipping students to take ownership of their education. We are mainly focused on problem solving skills, personal development, critical thinking, communication skills, leadership and personal branding.