One of my greatest regrets in life is not taking school seriously. There was so much knowledge I missed out on, and I kick myself to this day. I was never really into school when I was younger. I was always in trouble getting detention, suspensions, and expulsions. My high school experience was limited to one class in which I lasted around twenty minutes before I just walked out on the class. Needless to say I was expelled within a month or two. When I was a teenager my priority was trouble and drugs. I honestly thought at that age I would become a career drug dealer, so I felt little need to learn anything.

I did not leave this life style or frame of mind until I reached my early twenties. Once my mind finally cleared from all the substances I had been feverishly consuming everyday for the last ten years, I finally realized that I needed an education to further myself in life. When I enrolled into college I was excited to begin learning for the first time in my life. When classes finally started, I was hit with a dose of reality as to how ill prepared I was for this experience. I had no idea how to properly study, and I lacked the basics of early learning. Despite these setbacks I managed to get A’s and B’s in all my classes, I was in heaven learning things for the first time. I ended up falling two semesters short of getting my B.A. in Philosophy.

I have noticed over the years since I left school there are many things I know very little about. This lack of knowledge has been a jumping off point for many of my insecurities. It wasn’t until around four months ago I decided to start a “learning list.” I decided I was going to start a list of everything I wanted to know more about. I carried this folded up notebook paper in my back pocket, and if I came across anything I didn’t know, or something I wanted to know more about I wrote it down on my piece of paper. The plan was to make sure I was setting aside sometime everyday to pick something off my list and learn as much as I could on the topic.

Time went by, and the only thing I had managed to do with this list is add things to it. I was having trouble finding the free time to dedicate to learning all these things I wanted to learn. It wasn’t until I decided to only write in this blog three times a week, I was able to find and dedicate my time to this project. I am happy to say that I have been able to finally cross some things off this list. I am overjoyed with this new found time.

When I started this I was just reading as much information as I could find on the topic. I realized I was not retaining all of this new found knowledge. I was discouraged because I was spending free time on something aimed at improving my intelligence, but I was unable to retain everything. I pondered this conundrum for a while and came up with the idea for weekly “learning books.” I decided that along with reading the material on a subject, I would also transfer key information into a word document. At the end of every week I would print a new volume of the learning book. My goal is to not only add new stuff every week, but to also go back and read past volumes. I feel that if I record all this into a booklet, and go back and read it over and over then the information will stick.

I am thirty-one years old and I desire to know so much more than I already do. I have always wanted to further my knowledge on an array of subjects. I feel this idea and structure will be a perfect tool in furthering my independent education. I am sure I will be using this new found knowledge to write some new posts. Perhaps I could create a new ongoing series called “The Learning Corner” or something like that. Whatever happens I know right now I feel very proud of myself. I would recommend this model to anyone interested in learning new things. It seems to be working for me.

  1. Excellent piece and story. May everyone that finds themselves in this situation, follow your path! Well done! Cliff

  2. The wisest people I have ever known were the ones who understood how little they knew, and how much there still was to learn. Based on this observation, you are already a smart cookie!
    As a former teacher I can tell you that you are alos on the right track with your journals, because people retain much more when they interact with materials.
    Another thing to think about is that it is hard to learn about something unless you already know the relevant vocabulary and context for the subject. If I were to decide to study the engineering behind building bridges, for instance, I would have a heck of a time at first because I have absolutely no background in that area.
    You might find that watching movies, TV shows, and documentaries related to a subject will help you learn as well, because we learn better when when take in information through different channels. Check with your local library. They can order items from other branches, and there is a good chance that you can order materials online.

    • Jodi,

      The way I have been working it so far is when I pick a subject and as I am reading it, if I do not understand a word or subject I research that until I am finally able to fully understand the topic.

  3. notplanb says:

    Great idea Tim! If you do indeed get your learning corner up I would love to follow that as well!
    I know lots of people who, like you, did not have a “traditional” education. Do not let that stop you or control how you view yourself. What you do with what you know, is as important, or more important IMHO, than what you know.

  4. I’m in too on the “Learning Corner”. Regrettably, my background is quite similar to yours (well, except the short of getting a B.A. in Philosophy. Never got that far). I have ‘huge’ regrets for not having the whole High School experience (sadly, especially prom), and settling for a GED before college. By then I was raising children and hadn’t much time to do that, college, and apply myself to other areas as well. I think a “Learning Corner” is a wonderful idea, will definitely study along if you have one, and think this is something good on the side for me as well. Thanks so much for the brilliant idea!

    • Pissy,

      I am glad you like the idea. Not sure when I will start writing posts on selected subjects. I want to make sure I know as much as I can about a topic so I am giving good info. I am also not sure how I would structure it. Perhaps a brief synapsis on the subject, or a post on one key aspect. I am not sure yet

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