Despite all this, I’ve never spent much time learning in a classroom aside from mandatory public school and a couple years in University. I went to college to get an IT diploma, but I knew most of the material and spent most of that time fine tuning my CSS skills. Yes, I’m a solo learner. I like to learn at my own pace, which is faster than the average person. If you’ve been reading some of my microblog posts, you’ll notice that I got back into programming through Academic Earth. It was a nice refresher; now I’m in a coder’s mindset again. It only took a week (last week was spent recovering from my current job stress).
I’ve spent money on graphic and web design books. I’ve bought online magazines about interior design, decorating, and architecture. I also subscribed to NAPP to learn photography/Photoshop and ThinkVitamin to improve my web development/design skills. I just recently discovered Lynda.com (because I want to consolidate all my learning into one central location).
I don’t have a college or university diploma. I like to learn to do things on my own. If somebody is around to show me, that works too. Going to school, however? Somebody (well, several somebodies) once told me that you’ll never get the dream job or career you want if you don’t have the papers to back it up. Why should education be measured? I’ve learned through all my solo education experiences that I know my strengths and weaknesses better than what a grade or GPA can tell me. I know what my capabilities and limits are in a given situation. Yes, I sometimes doubt myself but I also sometimes amaze myself with my awesomeness. The final word is this: society needs to buck the traditional old world views of education and experience. If all I’m worth is just a piece of paper, then does that mean I’m worth nothing? Heck, no. I can do anything within my expertise that a fresh graduate can do; sometimes better. I can think outside of the box. If I discover there’s something I don’t know yet and I know I’ll need it, I’ll find a way to consume it into my skill set. I believe that anybody else can too, but most people just don’t due to laziness, fear, or doubt. I refuse to be yet another piece of paper in a stack of papers on a desk.
That doesn’t mean mass education is worth less than personal education. I just think that it’s more corruptible. People fool themselves into studying hard to get the good grade or the good job. But who studies hard because they want to; because the knowledge they acquire is worth a million times more than the overpriced tuition fees that our institutions charge them? You can’t put a price on learning, because we never stop and we can always find ways to do it. I’m at a point in my life where I’m doing a job I don’t like and am not suited for because I wanted to pay off my debts and save more money to go to school in the future, and because of that, I put more undue stress on my finances and well-being. I sat back, looked at my situation, and didn’t like where I had pigeon holed myself.
As of now, this is an oath to myself to reinforce one day at a time: break the chains, go out there, upset the status quo, and most importantly: never stop learning.
On a side-note, I do believe the late Steve Jobs did just exactly what I swore. He was a pioneer and inspiration to all.