We all know that attending school is an important step in learning new skills and gaining knowledge for better career opportunities. Also, school offers you an opportunity to interact with other students, faculty members and the community. In most cases, you are given a selection of subjects to choose from, and you hope that by completing your school’s programs it would be sufficient to move you along the next step towards your preferred career. Sometimes, this is not the case, because everything you need to learn now is not necessarily taught in school.
While both Government-supported and private schools offer a variety of choices, you’re only allowed to choose one school’s academic program at a time. Your choice may have been based on financial considerations, your faith, the location of the school or something else. Once the choice is made, students are faced with homework overload and extra-curricular activities which makes them unable to explore other non-school related skills or subjects they are interested in. Additionally, there is no single school in The Bahamas which offers all subjects for all of their students’ interests. This can pose a challenge for the many students who want to explore other subjects and advanced skills. If a certain specialty subject is available, sometimes slots are limited to a small number of students, therefore many students would end up choosing what’s available though they are not passionate about it.
At this point, it’s not unusual for you to feel that there is more to learning than being in a classroom at school. Maybe you feel that learning a new skill, in addition to what is taught in school, and is just what you need to increase your chance of finding the right career. If this is how you feel, then keep reading.
How You Can Learn Outside School
All is not lost. You can help yourself learn a new skill on your own. If you feel that what you’re learning in school is not enough, there are many avenues you can explore to fill the knowledge gap. Start by informing your parents about the subjects you want to learn, so you can both agree to find suitable learning methods. Proper time management is important; you may need to cut back on the amount of time you spend on other personal activities to accommodate studying new skills. You can research study guides and exercises online or borrow materials from the library. Compile your notes and review them throughout the school year. Below are examples of subjects that may not be available in your school, and steps you can take to learn more about these subjects:
- Take subjects related to this field: zoology, chemistry, ecology, physics and biology to name a few. Learning about statistics will also help. Attend workshops and seminars held by conservation organizations (e.g. The Bahamas National Trust) or Government Departments (e.g. The Department of Marine Resources).
- Visit Museums, national parks and take trips with aquatic tourist attractions such as snorkel providers, and SCUBA dive operators (if you are a certified diver).
- Look for volunteer opportunities in marine related projects or apply as an assistant in research programs.
- Carryout research in the library and online. Study fishing and marine legislation in The Bahamas. Compile everything, place them in a large binder and prepare your own Marine Biology learning portfolio.
- Take a Marine Biology course. If there is none available on your island, consider taking an online Marine Biology course to get acquainted with the theory of the subject.
Ask the experts in the field for feedback and how you can improve your skills.
- Learn how to draw – you don’t need to be the best at it, but you must know the basics.
- If you have drawing skills already and a little creativity, start looking for online designing tutorials intended for beginners.
- Photoshop and Illustrator are important software you need in graphic design, but they are expensive. Students who lack resources can use other free image editors and design software alternatives such as GIMP, Queeky and Inkscape.
- You need to download and install these on your computer and practice designing through online tutorials.
- Join online forums and interact with other novice and expert designers.
- Practice every day, and take inspiration from other people’s works.
- When you’re already comfortable using a design software of your choice, create your own project.
- Keep a collection of your best work in a portfolio to show potential clients or employers.
- Take basic high school mathematics lessons. If you’ve done that but need a little more help, consider taking an online high school mathematics course.
- Look for good books about the subject in the library. Gather learning materials online and study them in your free time.
- There are many free courses available online for this field. Look for courses intended for beginners (Introduction to Computer Science, Introduction to Algorithm, etc.)
- Watch video lectures or listen to podcasts about the subject.
- You can download apps on your phone that will teach you the basics of Computer Science and Coding. Some teaching apps are in game format and can be used by kids, beginners and advanced students.
- You don’t need a degree to be an entrepreneur but a background in Sales, Marketing, Economics and Business Management would help.
- Interview the experts in the field you are interested in. Ask for advice, and ask about the challenges they have faced and the solutions they have come up with.
- There are many websites that offer free learning courses about entrepreneurship. Check Alison, Udemy, and Coursera to name a few.
- Apply for apprenticeship (on-the-job training) to learn more about the subject.
- Gather information about different startup ideas before you start your own business venture. Learn from other people’s success and failures.
- Most importantly, get started and learn from your own experiences as well.
- Because this field is so varied, you can start by researching current maritime career opportunities in the Bahamas or elsewhere.
- Borrow navigation books from the library, gather information from online and compile your own study guide.
- Look for distance learning school (e-learning) that offers practical maritime studies, so you can learn wherever you are and at your own pace. Examples are Lloyds Maritime Academy, and My Coracle .
- Talk to faculty members about maritime internship programs. Ask them about different regional internship sites depending on the field and disciplines you want to learn.
- Depending on your career of choice, you may benefit from taking a bat captain’s license course which is available on several islands.
Overall, it’s important that you take the initiative in order to learn a new skill. Seek out ways to learn more of the topics you’re interested in. The trick is to learn how to manage your time, and to connect with the right people who can offer sound guidance. You may join or form a study group with students who are also passionate with the subject you are interested in. Discuss your progress with each other. This will motivate you and will make learning more fun and exciting.
How about you? Is a there a subject you’re interested in but is not available at your school?