Becoming a lifelong learner
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. – Alvin Toffler
For John Ngugi, graduating in 2020 did not mean an end to learning. Rather it was a gate valve to the ocean of opportunities that surround those that keep an open mind and are willing to pursue their life nudges. He believes that there is more to his Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science that supersedes the knowledge of algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics. For example the support of a mother who cheers you through it all or a friend who stays up late to ensure that you have revised well for your exams.
Becoming a lifelong learner…
…is a journey that one has to purpose to take alone. It needs to be fueled and Strathmore University continues to refuel mine. The University is more than brick and mortar and opportunities are endless. However, you have to hunger for more and feed yourself with the changes that surround you. For example, being part of clubs, doing group work, presenting class projects, attending public lectures, engaging in lectures in and out of lessons all offer you opportunities to be a part of something new or a platform to share what you know with others. For example, during my internship at the Strathmore Africa Data Analytics center (SADAC), I learned through my supervisor about the Microsoft fellowship. I was an actuarial science student but I dared to immerse myself in the world of data science. Now, my understanding of data science is broader, and I have the advantage of teaching others the same.
Get yourself out of “I do not know how” to “I want to know how”
At 87 years old Michelangelo said, “I am still learning”. Are you? Willingness to learn new concepts and explore new ideas is liberating for anyone that desires to learn. However, it does come with its challenges. It takes time to learn and that may mean you keep the night guard company. Secondly, it costs money. For example, if you need to upskill you may need to buy books, pay for courses or even pay for tutors. This means that one will need to forgo some of the leisures they are accustomed to for some time in order to achieve that certification. Over and above that, our attitude towards personal development needs to be realistic because ‘that which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.’
To those that are still students, learn to seek new knowledge and networks. For example, when you are in a group pay attention to what other students share they may just offer an answer to a question you never got a chance to ask the lecturer. For those that have been out of books for a while remember that learning is not just in the books. Seek new skills or unlearn habits that are not adding depth to what you are passionate about. Remember that no man is an island so be a helping hand when an opportunity arises because you never know when you will need a hand.
This article was written by Annete Karanja.
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