Education Outside The Classroom

Tertiary education is fast becoming a luxury. There are countless students, worldwide, who are unsure about where to source resources to help them further their ambitions. It is a challenge and with dwindling support from corporations and state bodies, many hopefuls have had to cancel or postpone their educational goals.

Retrieved from Google Images, August 23, 2013

I grew up being of the view that education was not only the vehicle for social change but also social and economic mobility. For many of us who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, the road to success was difficult. In the 1990’s to early 2000, many of us did not have to deal with the aftermath of a global financial meltdown, which dried up resources usually provided by corporations, as funds were diverted to their survival. Post financial crisis, graduates who see a need to continue their education especially in the area of research, continue to struggle.

Throughout my professional journey, I have gained some degree of optimism in what can be done with the right support. The first order of business is to plan. Planning sets in motion the ideas that you wish to pursue and the available support systems that are available. Visuals are helpful so it is not sufficient for you to have the idea stored in your head but to document what your dream looks like. Question the reasons behind the idea and what are the likely outcomes. Document these motives also. The point I’m making is that, for many of us, we will have to redefine how we achieve our goals. No one is going to hand money over, unless they have formed an interest in your idea and see the potential of your dreams.

I have learnt also that tuning my awareness to the movers and shakers in the business and academic world, opens up a mine field of data about what drives their passions. At one time or another, they were just like me. They defined what they wanted to do and stepped out, risk aside, and sought it. They asked questions of the right people and they networked. Even more inspiring is the fact that they gave back. Giving back does not necessarily mean financial, but through mentoring (physical presence in the lives of the less fortunate), blogs (referencing Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic) and other practical means.

A number of friends in my social network have observed that the men and women of acclaim can now speak from their vantage point because they are financially secure. They believe that the values of the likes of Oprah, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Will Smith, Jay Z and many other owners of immense capital spanning varying professions, are framed in their own worldviews. They can never appreciate the difficulties the average Joe and Jane now experience. I look at the presence of these guys somewhat differently. I am not expecting them do anything more than they currently do. What they do is to provide images of what is possible. How to go out and get yours. I look at them and extract nuggets of behaviors that I can apply to my own life. They did it and so can you.

My advice to you is to dream and dream big. Don’t be daunted by all the challenges that are running squarely toward you. Review, revise, and execute your strategies to accomplish your goals. Never be afraid of failure. Become disciples of those who have created opportunities not for themselves but for others as well. Like a coach, who in the locker room gives his team the hard truth about their performance and have them watch the plays that cost the game, also be your own critic. Appraise what went wrong and seek help to correct the costly mistakes. Instead of quitting, reconcile what worked and what did not, then move on.

Lastly, assess your threshold for risk taking. Life is a gamble and sometimes, we just have to move out of safe harbor and move towards the horizon. We will never know, unless we give it a try!

Copyright SHC 2013

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