The Importance of Self-Education and How To Do It

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The availability of resources has made self-education much more viable and accessible than ever. But, how can you do it?

Out of various sectors severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, Education is at the top. We have noticed countless students spiraling into depression as the pandemic abruptly halted their routine life. On the other hand, we also witnessed many students change their lives by utilizing their time and teaching themselves valuable skills.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-educating as "the act or process of educating oneself by one's own efforts, especially through reading and informal study." Self-educating is a proactive process in which you are responsible for your own learning, which means there are no deadlines, grades, coursework, etc. You work on your own schedule. Self-education has been gaining popularity over the past few years, and its advocates are gaining numbers as it's possibly the most crucial skill you can learn to advance in life.

Why should you self-educate?

The British Library, located in the United Kingdom, is the largest in the world. With close to 200 million items stacked on shelves that total a length of 388 miles, the place is a hub of knowledge. To acquire such a vast collection, the library had to document and preserve its contents for decades. What's amusing is the fact that anyone with a smartphone now can access way more resources than the British Library could ever contain. Imagine carrying a 388-mile-long bookshelf in your pocket! It's almost criminal not to take advantage of such abundant resources. The 21st century has created a conducive environment and extensive opportunities for people to teach themselves. So why not utilize the resource if it is available?

Another reason for the importance of self-education is that formal credentials no longer carry the same weight they used to. Our world is constantly changing, and what was an important skill five years ago has become obsolete. Add this to the fact that college graduates are ever-increasing, and it has become crucial to stand out. Educating yourself proves you are a proactive learner and can thrive in a dynamic environment, which will significantly enhance your employment prospects as you're always ready to update yourself with the times.

The impacts of self-education go beyond one's career. Many individuals have discovered their passion through exploring new subjects. Consider the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who is a great example. Through self-education, he managed to become a master mathematician who devised formulas that still baffle mathematicians today. Self-education rekindles your curiosity and helps you rediscover yourself. So, if you're a person who has lost the excitement of formal learning, you should highly consider self-education.

How to do it?

Whether your interest lies in STEM subjects like math and physics, or you're more artistic and want to study literature and philosophy, or you merely want to learn a new skill, you can do it all online. While you can download a book and read on the subject you want to study, it's also best to consult different online resources. Apart from helping you learn better, these resources will give you the structure and guidance to act as a guiding compass in a sea of information. Some of the best free online resources include; EdX, Coursera, MIT Open Courseware, and Khan Academy. If you research further, you can find many other sites available, but it's best to pick a single resource and stick to it.

It's crucial to take your time while self-studying and avoid rushing things. The availability of resources may motivate you to learn everything at once, but this could cause burnout and leave you without interest in the subject matter. Therefore, picking a single subject and taking your time studying it is the best way to go. Since there are no grades, exams, or attendance, it is up to you to take responsibility and become accountable for your progress. You must build and maintain a schedule to study daily and take breaks when necessary.

Teaching yourself is not an easy task. You may feel incompetent and overwhelmed, and these feelings might be demotivating. A piece of advice is to remind yourself why you started learning in the first place. And when feeling overwhelmed, it's necessary to take breaks because your learning journey is not a race against time.

Self-education is an invaluable investment of your time, considering the value it adds to your life. Its returns are immeasurable, and you'll be surprised by how much you'll accomplish in a short amount of time. So, what are you waiting for; go for it!

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