I am a BIG advocate for professional and personal development. Big. I tend to attract friends who also like to geek out at conferences and workshops or swap books/notes on various practices or methodologies.

So who is the DIY Scholar – Practitioner? Someone who values popular education, is interested in the investigating the link between scholarship/study and what they do in the world, sees life experience as valuable as book knowledge.

What is Self-Directed Study?

I’ve come to realize that professional development does not always have to be prescribed by an employer or directly associated with a task or skill you get paid to do. Self-directed professional and personal 
development creates paths for new skills and outlets.
 Art in Praxisis in its infancy but this is my lab to do just that.

 

“… and if she cannot find the culture that encourages her, then she usually decides to construct it herself. And that is good, for if she builds it, others who have been looking for a long time will mysteriously arrive one day enthusiastically proclaiming that they have been looking for this all along.” – Women Who Run With the Wolves – Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

If Self-Directed Study jazzes you, keep reading.

Questions to ponder:

  • What do you want to learn more of? Why? This may require some serious reflection and doodles. 
  • Who is doing this work already? (Think global.) What can your study add in the development of the field? There is usually someone else on the planet who is interested in or doing some variation of what you are interested in. You should learn about them. If you are looking to create a new path via self-directed study, how do you want to leave your mark? Tip: Review your answer to my first point.
  • What tools and resources (people, networks, groups, sites) are already within your magical grasp? Get creative. 

Some tips:

  • Talk to your collegiate friends (who are studying cool things) about their syllabi.
  • Talk to your non-collegiate friends about their experience with said subject.
  • Develop a scholar-practitioner calendar that you feel good about. I just learned about Trello, very cool project management software.
  • Visit your local library, archives and museums.
  • Tell people you are doing this. You may slip up and become an expert.
  • Share your findings, or at least document (writing, podcasts, photos) them.

Some tools: