a different type of education


On Tuesday, i have to register for college and that always signals the ‘end of summer’ for me. For some reason i always seem to end up with loads of work starting back to college. This year is no different…

I remember saying this last year but college will actually act as a ‘break’ for me. During the week, for the past couple of weeks, i’ve been working about 10 hours a day and probably a combined 10 hours at the weekends. So 60 hours / week in total. Exaggerating? Not at all. Tomorrow i’ll be rolling out another site on theleavingcert.com network which will help to ‘prove’ that.

These sites don’t build and run themselves. I spent 7 hours on Thursday trying to make a wordpress plugin play ball. Out of the box, it almost did what i wanted, but it was missing one key feature… so i spent about 5 hours diving in to files and studying how the plugin was put together, line by line. Eventually i was able to build up a mental picture of what line of code did what. Now i knew how to solve the problem in plain english, but not in php.

So i spent another 2 hours or so messing about until i came up with a solution in php… i can’t even write php, but i can hack. I know enough to get by and make things work. And of course i’m learning all the time and only getting better. For those curious, the plugin / my solution is here.

The second problem took the same length of time and it was much easier but still time consuming. A custom bbpress theme design. To match our existing theme design on students.theleavingcert.com. You’ll see it tomorrow 😉

So there’s a common theme running through my life right now… education. However, i’m beginning to use my own education to create things and solve problems, which is exactly what education should do. But education is useless without work rate and quite often the smarter we become, the lazier we become.

Could i have paid people to solve those problems for me? Yes. Could i just give up or switch off after so many hours? Yes. But in doing that i’d learn nothing. I wouldn’t move forward… the easy option is just to walk out when the going gets tough or get somebody else to solve the problem.

Instead, i worked and worked and then worked some more until eventually at around 3am on Friday morning, i cracked a problem i’d spent most of the day working on. Ok, it may be a trivial problem to some but that’s not the point. The point is that i not only possessed the ability to solve problems i’d previously regarded as ‘impossible’, but i also possessed the self-belief and work ethic to make things happen and didn’t stop until they did happen. The best thing of all, is that i had nobody pressuring me or no financial reward at the end of it.

That’s the kind of work ethic which i love and the kind i’m hoping to maintain…

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