Self-Directed learning. Isn’t that the same as homeschooling? Unschooling? Worldschooling? How can I identify as a self directed learner while studying at a public university?
I asked myself these questions as I stepped into my first lecture hall at Colorado State. I felt as if I was a traitor, as if I was betraying everything I’d spent the past year advocating for. What was the difference between myself and all of the students that were there because it was the “right track”? As I questioned all of these things, I came across a mentor’s new book and my new inspiration, The Art Of Self Directed Learning. Even just the first chapter changed my mind immediately, I became instantaneously proud of my decision to attend a university.
“Self Directed learners take full responsibility for their educations, careers, and lives. Think hard about where you’re going, research all your options, and then move boldly forward.” – Blake Boles, The Art of Self Directed Learning
I stepped into the next lecture confident in my decision to be at Colorado State. I knew I was studying what I was interested in, and when they offered me a 490 level class on Global Identity and how to write about international affairs, I enthusiastically hopped on it. I’m here to learn about what I’m passionate about, right?
So now I’m taking 4 freshman level courses focusing on writing, communications, pop culture, and math, as well as an upper level workshop that I am extremely passionate about. Talk about self directed learning.
For awhile, I moped around and became bored. My classes seemed unimportant and the campus felt like it was shrinking smaller and smaller. But one day I got on the phone with a friend who reminded me that Colorado State is just as much of an adventure as trekking the Andes. Both have uncomfortable bits and both have their peaks. I perked up and marched my butt over the student media office and asked for a writing position at the school magazine. I got the job.
Alright, most of my classes are of interest to me. A good 3/5 make me excited to get out of bed each morning.
But isn’t self directed learning about doing only what you love? Following your dreams and making them happen? That’s what I thought too. So if only 3/5 of the classes are amazing, why not replace the other two with passion fueled classes? I debated it for awhile and (with help from my dear father) came to the conclusion that sometimes you have to bite the bullet and take the classes that will help push you forward in education and in life. So math, I continue to suffer through you.
I met with the study abroad office, and I met with various apartment buildings around town. I debated which I want to do next year. Study abroad? Stay on campus? Do both? Just one? Goodness gracious, this world is full of options of things to do with our time, isn’t it. I have decided to stay here in Fort Collins for two years. I am getting an apartment with friends for my sophomore year and will be traveling and studying abroad my junior year, 2018-2019. Oceania, Spain, I’m coming for you but I have something to prove to myself first.
I’m challenging myself. The challenge is to find satisfaction in staying put. In routine. In long lasting friendships and having a place I live in for a long amount of time; building a long lasting community and becoming a member of this society.
I am a self directed learner. I challenge myself and I question everything. I go where I feel compelled to go and I do what I realize I need to do.