• Ian Gibbs

Whatever You Like


If you’re interested in chemistry or geography or English literature, then good for you. Enjoying the subject you have to learn is a big help.

 

But what about the things you’re interested in that aren’t on your school syllabus?


What if the thing that interests you the most is horse-riding or drone-piloting or playing in a band or setting up your own restaurant?

 

The answer is simple. Learn as much as you can about whatever it is that does interest you.

 

You might say, ‘but what’s the point if it’s not part of your school’s studies?’

 

Regardless of what you learn, you’ll start learning stuff your fellow classmates don’t know.

 

If you continue learning, after a while you’ll discover you’ve become an expert compared to the rest of your class.

 

If you continue further, you’ll become an expert in your year.


A little further still and you’ll be the expert in the whole school.

 

This means when you leave school, regardless of your grades, you’ll be an expert in your subject.

 

Think about that for a moment.

 

If you know how to do things most others don’t, then getting a job or offering your services is much easier because you can do stuff others can’t. In business they call it ‘competitive advantage’. What it means is you can do stuff better than anyone else.

 

If that’s not enough, another reason to learn extracurricular stuff is that although it might seem extracurricular to you, it probably ties in with stuff that is on your curriculum.

 

You can’t do much with drones without picking up stuff about drag, lift, friction, energy and radiowaves and that’s just physics.

 

Horse-riding involves biology including anatomy, biochemistry, nutrition, as well as animal psychology, logistics and business skills.

 

Playing in a band involves the mathematics of music, the physics of acoustics and amplification, teamwork, negotiation skills, marketing.

 

Running your own restaurant involves finance, customer psychology, advertising, interior design.

 

At some point, the stuff you learn about your own interests is going to overlap with the subjects you learn at school. And when it does… click! It will satisfyingly snap into place. You’ll find it easier to learn because you’ve learned half of it already.

 

Thirdly, as we will see later, a powerful tool for learning is the use of metaphor. A metaphor is when you compare something to something else in order to understand it better (e.g. the flow of water is often used as a metaphor to describe how electricity behaves).


If you have learnt lots of stuff, you’ll have had lots of experiences others haven’t. When you need to understand a new concept you might be able to use the stuff you’ve already learnt as metaphors for the new.

 

And even if the stuff you learn doesn’t appear on the syllabus and doesn’t help you find work, it still makes you a knowledgeable and more interesting person.


You never know, it might not be useful today, but tomorrow… who knows?

 

Tip: Learn about anything that interests you, even if it’s not on the curriculum at the moment, it’ll probably come in useful later on.

 

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