Learning how to learn – The reboot

Learning how to learn – The reboot

Neeti Pherwani

What surprised me most about myself, was my ability to absorb new learning in the classroom, assimilate the information and apply it to the fieldwork component that we had alongside.

Something that I’ve always admired about the individualistic spirit of the Americans, is their eternal belief in “it’s never too late to start something new”. It’s with this inspiration that I decided to apply for a full-time, two year post graduation course at 28 years of age. In the larger scheme of things it’s not that old, I know, but when you’ve been working since 21, and your peers are reaching the respectable positions at their various jobs, it can be quite daunting to give all those possibilities up, and go back to student life.

It definitely wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. I know I’d wanted to do my Masters degree for a while now, but I just didn’t know what in. Every year I’d dream of going back to studying, writing assignments and the likes, but the actual subject was a blank. Eventually, I decided that I can’t keep waiting for the ‘right time to strike’, and instead just take the plunge. So, Social Work it would be, and from college that’s known to be difficult to get into, nonetheless.

Master of one

Oh, did I mention, I’ve never given an entrance test before? I gave up my job in April, moved to Delhi in May, and then studied for the test for a month. It was nerve wracking; the wait for each round of results. The interview, of course after which, like a typical millennial, I nitpicked at every word I’d said and wish I’d said it better instead.

Of course, as you probably figured from the title, I got through. I was excited, and really looking to make this count. I think that knowing what I’m giving up and coming back to this space, I was more grateful to get this chance – to have the stars aligned so perfectly that I can focus on two years of pure studying and also get support to survive financially and emotionally in a new city.

I did spot the differences from my time graduating and now – I came with a big dollop of pessimism (I mean realism) as opposed to the idealistic enthusiasm of earlier. I was excited, no doubt, to enter the classroom again with a renewed sense of interest in learning.

What surprised me most about myself, was my ability to absorb new learning in the classroom, assimilate the information and apply it to the fieldwork component that we had alongside. Getting thrown into the deep end in every workplace, and waddling my own way out of it really did have its perks, I assume.

The rush

It was definitely quite the dopamine rush, enjoying the challenges of the classroom, discussions and debates. I realised that we need a system that encourages youngsters to get work experience, and then come back to study a masters or higher education. My entire perspective towards what learning means had changed, and it also helped me understand people around me much better.

All this enthusiasm doesn’t come without its own set of anxieties though. I have questioned my decision a few times; there is a guilt that comes along with being a dependent on my family again, and wondering if this is going to be the right decision to take.

Every middle class-er who’s grown up knowing that sacrifice and struggle is what life is, is probably nodding wisely right now. I wonder if I put myself through this as a test of my ability to struggle – or is it the restlessness in me that does not like to stay with status quo for too long. But, the pros far outweigh the cons I suppose, and like every calculated risk in life, one just needs to take a leap of faith.