Mohamed Said's Journal

Web Developer, cyclist, and freediver.

How leaving school made me a better learner

Posted on December, 11 2015 in Life

How leaving school made me a better learner

It all started as a traditional story, I left school because I had to work to support my family, back then I didn’t feel special about myself, I always thought I hated the reasons that drove me into this, I even blamed my family for making me reach this situation. I’m the eldest son of a mechanical engineer who used to run a business of his own, after 20 years of hard work everything started to collapse and the business was shut down in a sort of tragedy taking years of hard work as well as lifetime savings, this left me with no choice but to stop attending classes and start looking for a job.

When you are moving in a line just like everyone else you feel secured, you think that nothing can go very wrong that you have to worry about, if thousands of people are on the same line there must be an unknown force keeping them safe that they, their families, and most probably their children are and will keep moving on that same path for years.

The moment you leave that path and find yourself alone with no body around is terrifying, you look at your friends who are still in school moving forward while you walk in a different direction with a blurry vision and start imagining all the things that can go wrong.

After a while I found myself thinking in a different way, I told myself “Hey, you didn’t finish school yet and you were able to land a job, isn’t that why people go to school in the first place? to land a job?”, this idea was my first step into realising one simple fact:

Education has nothing to do with the person’s ability to perform a job, knowledge does.

After sometime I was able to understand why schools were invented in the first place, its main purpose is to pass on knowledge & experience, but what if I can gain that knowledge on my own? the internet has every piece of knowledge I can find in a school, I only need to let go of my fears and instead learn all the stuff I need to become better at my job.

I want to mention some facts about Education where I come from, the Global Competitiveness Report for 2013–2014 issued by the World Economic Forum placed Egypt at the bottom of its report in regards to the quality of primary education, unless you are from a wealthy family the chance of getting a proper education is nearly zero, but despite these facts people here fight hard to stay in school, not to gain knowledge, but to be named as “Educated”.

Students behind the gate of a school in Egypt

Students behind the gate of a school in Egypt

Titles matter here, everybody want their sons and daughters to become doctors and engineers even though they know the fact about the quality of education, my struggle at the moment I realised these facts was with learning how to blend in in such a society, but after a while I decided that I don’t really need to blend in but rather stand out, I felt proud of what I achieved without having to attend life-sucking lectures from mummified bullshitters, I was proud of my ability to learn about anything without the help of others.

I learnt how to learn on my own, and I find that the most important education everybody should receive, you don’t need a lecturer to teach you how to code, or how to fix your own car, or even how to build a house. In Egypt here for example Engineering school graduates can not build houses on their own, they don’t have the knowledge needed for that, they depend on un-educated but experienced workers to do everything while they sign a couple of papers because the government requires a signature of an engineer.

I can never say that all people who completed their education here lack knowledge, only those who walk into the line and never look outside, those who only read the papers and only the papers they were asked to read. After my school mates graduation, a lot of them landed entry level jobs but very few had the knowledge needed to land a real job where they actually use their mind to do stuff, not only fill some papers.

So, after 3 years since my last lecture at school I can say I’m very proud of who I’m now, I’m proud of my ability to learn on my own, I’m proud of supporting family, and I’m proud of being able to get married and start a family.

Lastly, if you can’t find what you need at a school just leave it and seek for knowledge on your own, you only need to learn how to learn and my advice for that is to ONLY learn what you love to know about, you don’t have to study shit because it’s in the curriculum anymore, you are the master of your own self, just let your passion guide you.

By Mohamed Said

I work at laravelphp on weekdays and practise freediving & cycling on weekends. Find me on twitter & github.

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