Graduation Cake

To know why I started this blog, you’ll have to hear my confession. But first, allow me to tell the story from the beginning.

“BBAs graduating from this program may be employed as IT designers, web application developers, IT consultants, programmers, et cetera, et cetera…”
— paraphrased from a university’s website

It was in February 2006 that I formed, based upon the description on their website (quoted above), my impression of the university program I applied for. It sounded pretty much like something that I might want to do for a living. So I was excited to go to school and begin my studies as I had always dreamed of studying IT since elementary school. But what actually followed didn’t connect with my expectations, and I really wondered if I had gone to the same institution where I had applied.

Most of our courses consisted of business management projects that were kinda relevant to IT, but didn’t quite succeed in teaching us how to become IT designers, web application developers, or programmers—contrary to the fancy program description. I became really skeptical about the whole institution, and wondered if I could ever find employment in the IT field with the tools I was introduced to in class.

Luckily, I soon found out that my school offered international exchange programs at universities in Japan, so I decided to make it my priority to travel to Japan as a student. (I guess I was at the same time trying to escape from my predicament.) I thought I would at least get something worth mentioning in my resumé if I completed parts of my degree overseas.

I was accepted to go to Japan, so I flew over to Osaka after the summer vacation and stayed there for two years. But during those two years, I developed a new outlook on work. It might have been due to the fact that I was exposed to a group of self-employed people who influenced me by giving me hope. Or reading Napoleon Hill’s inspirational Think and Grow Rich over the summer might have triggered me to shift towards entrepreneurship and freelancing. The leads didn’t matter. What mattered was that it was a new beginning.

But I didn’t want to quit school and become a full-time entrepreneur quite yet. First I wanted to complete the degree I had started working on, but my goal now was to grab the diploma and get out as fast as possible. I felt relieved, in a way. I realized that I didn’t have to rely on the school syllabus to get the necessary means to become a professional IT expert. I mean, would I really need to take a course on the SQL language to learn it? No. Or would I even need a diploma to start a career in IT?

A couple of years back, my answer to those questions would’ve been ‘yes’, but I noticed how foolish it would be to be controlled by those misconceptions. I had to accept the fact that the only one responsible for my future was myself—not my school, not my teachers, no one else. If I were to graduate as a BBA majoring in IT and didn’t get employed by any company, what would I do? Blame the school for it? Blame my teachers? The truth is, no diploma is going to get you a job if you don’t put yourself out there.

So I decided that if the school doesn’t want to provide the training, I will do the training myself. I will teach myself how to handle all the things required of an IT expert. If I want to work as a web developer, I will do whatever it takes to learn how to build websites with appropriate solutions such as PHP, SQL, and Adobe Illustrator. I would also study marketing, branding, social networking, and search engine optimization to find buyers and to establish myself as a web service provider.

Would I learn these things better during a 90-minute lecture while I’m dozing off half of the time? There is so much valuable material available on the Internet and in books. Many business gurus and entrepreneurs are also sharing their experiences on their blogs for free. If we want to learn how to use PHP, SQL, and Adobe Illustrator, we can anytime invest time in studying from a variety of free resources, such as online tutorials. The key is to be active with our pursuits, and not to wait for things to come to us. It takes more commitment and self-discipline to learn things by ourselves. But if we have a burning desire to accomplish something, and we draw a road map that takes us through the steps leading to our goal, we can do it. And I believe that we can do it more effectively than those who study in “better” institutions but have no clear purpose in their studies.

Self-Learner focuses on these aspects primarily. I’ve noticed that many other students in my school also suffer from the same negative emotions that I used to have a few years back. So I decided that I would share these ideas with people who are facing similar problems, and perhaps instill in them a feeling of confidence and purpose that will lead to success.