Sarcasm is basically my second language, and earlier this year the phrase “educate yourself” somehow made its way into my vocabulary. It was almost always used when I wanted to express frustration that I hung out with people who don’t usually care for my interests (as seen below). It became a catchphrase of sorts, and I have no regrets.
Friend: What are you listening to?
Me: ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked!
Friend: What’s that?
Me: You…you don’t know what Wicked is?
Me (locking eyes with them and saying in a clear tone): Educate yourself!
And while I knew that no one I said it to took my words to heart and ever learned whatever it was I was demanding that they educated themselves on, it still garnered a laugh from people, and half the time that’s all I was going for. But as I used it more and more, I started thinking about what it was I was saying. Yes, I wanted people to go understand what I was talking about, but more than that, I wanted people to go out of their way to learn about something unconventional…that just happened to be an unconventional thing I liked.
And then I began thinking about what I’ve educated myself on and how I went about doing it and why. I’m not saying normal, scholarly education isn’t important, but personally, some of the most important and interesting things I know in my life is self-taught.
Take blogging for example. I’ve said before that I started blogging at a young age, when I was very unfamiliar with how the internet worked or WordPress at all. I had to learn all on my own. But I stuck with it and did my best and Googled things like ‘what is a wordpress widget’ and now, five years later, I am very familiar with how things work. I know settings and systems like the back of my hand and I really love to blog.
WordPress is a fairly useful learned skill, though. Not all things I educated myself on is. Under what circumstances would my knowledge of who the costume person is on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. come in handy? (Ann Foley, by the way). Either way, over the past few years, I’ve gathered an extensive knowledge on TV shows, musicals, music, movies and more. Sure, a general knowledge is great, but like I said, in some cases, I know a lot of pretty useless in-depth facts, especially about TV. But the thing is, it’s all stuff I genuinely love. I love pop culture, I love musicals, I love TV, and I want to know as much as I can about these things. I’m doing this for no one but myself and that’s what matters.
There’s a difference between consuming and actively consuming. Reading a book only counts as self-education when you genuinely want to read that book and you think about that book and you feel like the knowledge you then have after is valuable, even if only to you.
In today’s technology-driven world, it’s so easy to find and pull up information on any subject, even the weirdest ones. There’s no excuse as to why you can’t know almost everything about whatever it is you love.
What have you educated yourself on? Leave a comment telling me what subject you’ve become a master of, thanks to self-education. And I also challenge you all to educate yourselves on something new. I don’t care if all you do is read a single Wikipedia page, just go forth and learn!
That’s all for now!