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Better yourself by Learning. The Ultimate Guide

My Backstory

The first step I took to bettering myself was to get the study books out and learn something new. I never ‘actually’ got the study books out because I had none. But I had always wanted to go to college. There was something burning deep inside me that fuelled a passion to better myself. I always thought that I was destined for more. I really didn’t think dish washing, waiting and cleaning would have been my total list of abilities since leaving school. The enthusiasm to be more than I currently was burned deep. Most of my family were Teachers, Doctors and Nurses. My Dad oversaw 100 and more men. Yep. He was paid a silly amount. I was underachieving and I knew I was.

The first thing I decided to do was to go to college. I had to start somewhere because as much as I wanted to I couldn’t be super-brainy in the blink of an eye. It takes time to learn. It takes time for your brain to digest all of the information that you’ve read, heard or done. So I looked at the prospectus of my local college and picked out a course that suited what I would like to learn and the profession I wanted to achieve in. Applied ICT. Sounded fun to me. Learning the global impact that technology has had on us over a generation.

I was too old to have an allowance for going to college and my options were limited. My heart sank a little. The burning flame was being dampened as soon as it had been turned back on again. It was sort of disheartening. But wait, there was a way. If I continued to volunteer at my workplace and go to college, workplace would pay for my travel and so would college. Moreover my fees were paid for because I was a low earner. Or a none earner to be exact.

Click here to find a college course in your area if it interests you

College was an eye opener. An eye opener to the way teenagers act, think and view themselves. It was interesting because life seemed to be dictated by the music that you listened to. And there was all this name calling: emo, gemo, goth, chav, etc. To be honest it made my head spin. I was just Raymond though. As a 27 year old and a mature student I was viewed with an automatic respect. It was nice. Anyway, for me college was very easy. I didn’t find it tough at all and I passed with flying colours. And after college I managed to secure a job at my place of voluntary work.

Now that I had a job they were interested to send me into further training to become a tutor. A community tutor. I was excited because this was a way to enhance my CV and put another notch to my qualifications. They had it in their minds that my temperament was well suited to that of a tutor that deals with people who are starting new with computers. They were right. I was really good at it. So I underwent my Pttls training (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector). This course was different. I had a personal reflection journal with the work that I had done. It was interesting before because I had never been asked to reflect on my learning. But it was good!

A good place to start for on the job training. National Careers Service

I’ve always wanted to travel the world. Ever since my Mum’s long term partner sat me down and my eyes widened by amazement as he told me that computers were the next thing on the market. I should get myself involved with them. He had me dreaming visions of me sitting on the sun-kissed beaches of Mauritius sipping cold Sangria from a tall glass (I was 10, I didn’t know what Mauritians drank!), getting a call from my superior asking me to be at the other end of the world in a day to fix a mainframe.

That didn’t work. I ended up binging and boozing and getting up to no good. So whilst we’re thinking of learning and hoping you’re not going to make the same mistakes that I did, I’ve actually compiled a list of on-the-job placement type things that you can do to travel the world. No, seriously. This is straight up stuff!

After College & Workplace Training

So as you can see I’ve learned to be a tutor in the community now. I have a good grasp of the sociological effects computers have had on humanity and several years of my own experience with computers. I was ready to burn rubber. Yet still not feeling complete. I was beginning to learn that the small bubble I had existed in for almost all my life was nowhere near that small. There were far more things to do and learn and notice than I was previously aware of. Like why does my colleague always talk to me in that tone of voice?? It’s SO condescending. Perhaps if I know why that is then maybe I’ll get a better idea of things.

So I took to the internet. I started off with Amazon books and built up a HUGE library and read the lot of them. It didn’t stop there though. There’s a huge amount of information and learning resources that I’ll get to underneath. Here’s just a few:

First of all I started from the beginning. No, not when I was born silly! When Humanity as we know it was born!

Greco Roman History – Greco Roman History is basically when History began. When we began to write and use properly structured sentences. When we began to live in communities bigger than familial gatherings. When gatherings became towns and towns became cities. When we began to trade in bulk and wage wars with thousands of people. Ancient Greece and Rome were the start of this. Did you know that the first ever towns were in Ancient Greece and the word for this was Politic? Probably where the word Politics stems from. A great start to your learning!

From there I went on to read about “us” why we interact and why we do the things that we do. So I began reading Anything by Allan and Barabara Pease. These guys are awesome authors on body language, dating, men and women, our differences, culture. They are GREAT reads. Lovely eye opener.

There are some fantastic books out there on Mental Health from personal accounts to case studies. At the time I was a mental illness sufferer so I read a good few of these books too. I can’t honestly say one of them highly stands out there though. They were all as good as each other.

If you’re not a great reader Amazon do Audible. Talking books. I have an account! I wasn’t always the greatest reader and writer

The Teaching Company. Wow. They helped me out a great deal with learning. I watched Greco Roman lectures, History Lectures, Science Lectures, Art Lectures. This one was a fantastic resource to have back at the time. I learned a great deal from them.

I’d recommend for Amazon books if you boost yourself to Prime membership you have access to thousands and thousands of free books and a swap section. So you can swap books with eager members! You also get a 30 day free trial to see if it’s for you. Plus a bucketload of videos and music and a ton else!

Still. I understand that money is tight so I would recommend using your local library and perhaps Google. So many useful sites on Google to learn. You can learn about World War II, the rise and fall of the British Empire or even leadership learning. The list is endless and the world is very open.

University

So obviously by now I was becoming very well educated. I was doing this in my spare time whilst trying to work through my last job. But, unfortunately that came to an end. I didn’t let that stop me though because whilst I searched for another job I can be learning again. The passion was still raging red in this little boys belly. So I signed up for distance learning at open university. And I achieved my very first years qualification in Computing. Very cool. I was so happy with myself.

P.S. The libraries at the Open University are digital and there’s a LOT of interesting books were you to sign up!

Unfortunately I had to halt this after the first year. A new job had came along and the pressures of the learning with the new job combined with the study at university was too much. I had to quit one of them. So I took the sensible option. My new job was a Managers position and there’s absolutely no way I could refuse that.

From there though I took to distance learning again. One that I could complete in my own time and there were no limits or stressful tests. One that the information could be there forever and I could come back to it whenever I liked.

Further Distance Learning

Udemy fitted this bill. Udemy was a godsend. I could literally choose a course and complete it over the space of three years if I wished to. No tests. The tutor was there but only to answer questions. Awesome stuff. I signed up for a good few discounted courses from Udemy – a lot of them free!!!

Shaw Academy is good too. Although there is a time limit. But some of their courses go for super discounted prices. A Diploma in Social Media Marketing For Only $2 for instance! That’s 99% off. Crazy!

I also tried Lynda.com. Their learning platform is a bit different from Udemy and Shaw. You pay a flat fee of about $25(?) per month and get their entire library of courses for free. This actually helped me with the projects I was working on at work. So I was really happy with that.

And that’s all for now. It’s as far as I’ve come with my educational learning. I can’t think of anything else that I’ve done. If I have no doubt I will add it in straight away. I want to write an Ultimate hobbyist learning guide and a make money from home ultimate guide too. So stay tuned for those and I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this!

 

Better yourself by learning. The ultimate guide
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I'm a man that's been through the pitfalls and elations of relationships in my ever growing quest to better my knowledge in the human condition. I've been in the game and around the Internet since 1996 and surprisingly I'm still using it today. I've definitely found myself in some weird and wonderful places and I hope to share all of this with you lucky people.

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