Self-direct your Education

Waris Hussain
4 min readJun 2, 2021

We approach our education this traditional way:

We put ourselves on a conveyor belt, where we’re moved along by some external force. And we get dropped off at the next stage of the process and hope something valuable happens to us.

And we come out at the end as a human widget of the right type to be plugged into a career of some kind.

Or, the alternative way is to put yourself into the driver’s seat. Taking control of the process. Making yourself the kind of person, the kind of output that you want to be to gain the kind of life that you want.

(thanks to Issac Morehouse — he put this into this way — the conveyor belt analogy)

Put yourself in the driver’s seat. Take control, take charge of your education and your career path, and get yourself the end goal that matters to you, not some arbitrary definition, or title, or credential for somebody else, but defining success for yourself. Taking control of the kind of life you want. Build the educational process to get there.

Before jumping further into “self-education”, let’s see the traditional method and what value does it provide -

What value do colleges provide the most?

Colleges provide a classroom full of people of your age who are ambitious to learn. Right?
Well, you can get that on LinkedIn, you can connect with some ambitious individuals of your age who are doing stuff that you’re interested in, who’re breaking patterns and doing something different. Well, LinkedIn (and other social platforms) is a much better option than colleges for this purpose. Also, don’t forget about networking events where you meet passionate individuals!

So, colleges provide much valuable information and knowledge which you’re gonna use to excel in this world, right?
Well, we are living in the information age where most of the knowledge is available for free, or really cheap. So, nope, a college isn’t the best place to gain knowledge either.

Okay, but what about that experience?

Well, if you have enough courage, you could move out, live in a different city with 2–3–4 of your friends and build something, work on what you’re passionate about. I think you’re gonna learn much more about ‘living’ this way rather than a university where you have food and shelter and live in a delusion that you’re actually ‘living in the real world’.

So, colleges don’t tick this checkbox either.

So, colleges provide a guaranteed, safe job, right?

Ah, don’t even get me started on this. Job? That too, guaranteed? Forget it. Having a degree won’t provide you jobs — it’s your skillset that does the real help.

So, College doesn’t provide a guaranteed job, it won’t give you the ‘real world experience’, it won’t teach you practical things about living, and you have better ways to build a network.

So, why am I considering college? What should I do then? What should I learn? Where should I go? If not college, then what?

The Answer: Self-directed Education

But first, Self-reflection.

Even if you are going to college, I’d strongly recommend taking some time off to figure out what it is that excites you (and if you already have figured out, what you’re doing here — go do that thing dude!)

Look inside and look at what it is that you want? What kind of lifestyle do you want? What kind of work you’re excited about? What you enjoy doing? Look for answers inside of you. Try stuff you’re interested in.

And then, to further learn those things, don’t outsource your learning. Self-direct it instead.

Figure out what you want to learn. Then Research the best ways to learn it.

You have a device capable of doing this (otherwise how you’re reading this?)

Google your way through learning “How to learn XYZ”

“How to learn Photography?”

“How to learn Filmmaking?”

“How to learn Philosophy?”

“How to learn Design?”

“How to learn Coding?”

“How to learn Business?”

Do your research, you’ll find answers to your field.

And those answers might include online courses, books, blogs, videos, Bootcamps, etc.

I did the same and landed on Praxis.

A friend introduced me to Praxis, and I loved the idea of it!

Why did I join Praxis?

discoverpraxis.com

Praxis is a Bootcamp, focused on helping passionate individuals get an apprenticeship at a growing startup. Praxis helps the participants discover a career path that excites them, builds skills while working on projects, and gains real-world experience apprenticing at a growing business.

Praxis has many amazing values, but those which excites me the most are these two-

  • Put yourself in the driver’s seat
    Praxis has this unique approach where they give the participants the decision-making, we get to decide what we wanna do, where we wanna put our efforts at, what projects we wanna do and what not! Of course, Praxis is there to provide guidance, their team of amazing advisors are always there at every point, but in the end, it’s us who get to control their education and career path.
  • The Praxis Community
    Praxis has a community of passionate individuals, working on exciting projects throughout the world. And once a person joins Praxis, he/she will be a part of the community for his/her entire lifetime!

Self-directing your education has its benefits. You get to decide what you wanna learn, what you wanna do as your “work”, what career you wanna build for yourself, and what kind of life you wanna build. You can literally design your life. And self-directing your education seems like a great starting point to me.

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Waris Hussain

I'm a User Experience Designer, a curious soul always keen to learn as much as possible. Here to share what I've learnt and get better at life.