Get ahead in your career by learning how to learn

When we were very young, I was not privileged to quality education early in my career.  Going to school was like going to the forest to hunt, so to speak. Sometimes, the forest was so small there was nowhere to look for prey. Look at the forest as a library or faculty or teachers who are knowledgeable. The measure of a great school or academic institution is the availability of quality reading materials in terms of a good library, subject matter teachers, mentors, and alumni to show that you can make it when you go through such a school. Not at Munteme Primary School and later Munteme Fatima College of our time. It was like hunting for animals in a city.

We went through schools that left a lot to be desired. But we are lucky we made it. The schools may not have had the facilities and resources needed, but they trained us to be able to survive on our own. It is a real and early introduction to the concept of scarcity.  Here you are. You must pass a national exam to be attempted by all and sundry. Yet you are in a school where your teachers for the candidate class never completed that class in the first place!

The teachers only focused few areas of the syllabus. To get ahead and be ready for the national exams, one had to dig deep.

Early in my education, a Nun walked into our class and asked, “what do you know about Moses in the Bible?”

No one knew the answer.

I think I was Primary Four at the time. The Nun said, “if you are going to make an impact on your life, you can not wait to be taught everything. You have to learn on your own, explore and read ahead.”

At that time, I could not pick the message. Later in Secondary school, I got an opportunity to travel to a rich home in Hoima town.  I found a child who had just returned from a school in Kampala for the holiday. He had a big book, with the words on the cover: “Encyclopedia of Knowledge.” I opened a few pages, and I was mesmerized. The book gave me an experience like the one you get when you travel to a big city like London or Tokyo for the first time. You get overwhelmed with new things.

I couldn’t sleep the whole night after looking at the book. Everything was so great. You know the feeling when you run from a place with too much smoke or from down deep in the swimming pool, and put your head up to catch a breath of fresh air? That was the same feeling I had with the book. Fresh air and thirst for knowledge. In the morning, I had to go back home. I begged for the book, but the owner could not let it get out of his hands. This gave me a thirst for more knowledge. The need to read. From then on, I could read every paper I came across. I could not throw a paper into the dust bin unless I read all the contents on that paper.

This goes back to learning how to learn.

There are so many opportunities in your space. We are living in an era characterized by the Internet of Things. Everything is online. Virtual classes with examinations being administered online are the way to go, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. Children as early as six years are getting exposed to computers or mobile gadgets. Everybody who has the simple skill of learning how to learn will win in this digital era. If you want to know about Moses just like the Nun asked us, you have to read on your own. Research and stay ahead of the competition.

The future of learning is self-study. Read books. Read when you are tired. Read when you need motivation. Read when you have challenges. Whatever you do, read. If someone has to remind you to read, you are not yet educated. Read on your own as a way of life. That is the essence of education and learning in the modern era.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr Strategy 2021. All rights reserved.

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