The difference between ‘Education’ and ‘Learning’

What does that ‘A’ grade really mean? Does it mean you have full grasp of a topic, or is it just you’ve managed to perform consistently on the material that is taught that semester. Is it enriching for you? Would you find yourself discussing the topics when not in a classroom setting?

The main difference in formal ‘education’ and ‘learning’ – one ends, the other follows us through life.

Whereas formal education trains certain skill sets and certifies us for employment. Life long learning is something that is less structured. To begin with, learning happens when one asks questions and set out to seek the answers for them. One can draw their own conclusions from their own research – whereas in formal education settings – a topic is brought to mind and questions are encouraged thereafter, but ultimately, students are given an uniform answer. Though one of course could disagree with one’s professor, one does it at his own discretions and consequences.

Already, we see this linear education system breeds mental laziness. If an instructor’s job is to inspire ideas, then under this model they’re hardly doing their job. There’s transferring knowledge, and there’s inspiring for progress. Not to mention, nowadays, students care more about their GPA rather than what they’re taught and how it fits into their day to day lives and in turn, how they could use the knowledge to improve the world.

The aforementioned flaws are the reasons why I think supplementation to formal education with self-education would be much more rewarding. Rather than seeing the acquisition of knowledge as some form of punishment or something that must be done, one could follow one’s curiosities and ask questions – not only in classroom settings, but ask questions in their day to day lives and set out to answer those questions by their own means through research.


when you let nothing get to you, then you’re absolutely free.

If you’re reading this: “So far, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. Congratulations. Keep going.”

I saw the quote while scrolling through Instagram and found it motivational. I thought back to the times where I thought that I’ve failed at everything and that things were over. I still remember a time where I could not accept failure, criticism or personal responsibility. All the times I felt scared, so scared of what might happen that I couldn’t get myself to even take a step out of my room.

Fast forward to today. I realized, I survived because I dared to. I dared to try. I made moves, no matter how bad it seemed. I made choices. I moved on. And now looking back, I couldn’t really imagine my life without those choices, even if they weren’t the best of choices – even though the narrative doesn’t make much sense to other people – it makes sense to me. And looking back, without courage, being daring, making hard choices. I wouldn’t be where I am today.

So those bad days you survived should be seen as triumphs.

Those scar tissues you have, should be seen as marks of victory.

You’re here. You moved on to things, things bigger and better. Sometimes people fall together, other times they fall apart. It might be pleasant, unpleasant, but in the end, I promise it’ll make sense and you’d find your balance, your rhythm – because without all those failures pushing you in the right direction, you’d be stuck in perfectly concocted comfort, too proud to reach for something new.

Hit Unsubscribe: what Black Friday taught me

On top of work emails, yesterday morning I woke up to a slew of emails from retailers that I periodically pay attention to, reminding me that oh yes, the Holiday Season is upon us and it is now our duty to ‘consume’ to the tunes of buy more things you don’t need just because you can.

After checking a few of them and even adding a few things to my online basket, I realized everything that is offered, although shiny and tempting, are not necessities. I already have exactly the same thing, just in a different style. The reorganized placement of a button or two does not warrant me opening my wallet and letting the funds flow.

Instead I had very specific things in mind.

I do need a new dress shirt for work, and possibly a new pair of black boots since my three year old ones are now worn out at the front from weather and multiple use and I’m proud to say I’d taken them with me and worn them on three continents.

Still after more scrolling, I realized – there’s no way I could, or should make these decisions online – because even if I get something on discount – there’s no telling about the fit or the cut.

And so, I started unsubscribing to flyers one by one after wasting time scrolling through everything. Needless to say, this is another lesson learned.

What’d changed in the past 3 months?

It’s kind of hard to frame that it’d been three months since quitting one of my jobs and moving forward from that, three months since I’ve started something anew – and from that three months mark, I’ve realized that I’m a lot happier now than before, mainly because, I’m no longer in the grind of doing something I don’t want to do day in day out, stuck in a toxic atmosphere where I spend more time thinking about quitting than actually doing my job.

Needless to say, never again, I refuse to put myself in the position again where my overall goals and principles misalign with what I’m putting my time towards.

Now, that said, I do realize that I’ve also been less than efficient in my day to day life due to disorganization –I’ve been working 12 hours days lately and realized that I could actually organize my life around my work and still have enough time to function and work on side projects – yes it’s possible, efficient organization is the key here.


Is Europe still safe to travel to?

Due to recent events, friends and family have advised me to reconsider things. Well, the thing is nothing has changed since that last post where by I expressed that I am not cancelling my trip. I am not cancelling my trip on the grounds of not putting my life on hold just because of fear, whether that fear is internally generated or externally generated.

I am well aware of what’s happening in Europe. I am well aware that now, every country in Europe is set on edge. I’d read on the news that there were school closures in Norway due to threats and there’d been false alarms in Copenhagen, and today I read there’s raids in Berlin.

However, I am not cancelling my trip.

Because cancelling is unfounded and this ‘fear’ since Paris, followed by the lockdown in Brussels is blown out of proportion. Of course, ripple effects will be felt from the attacks and precautions must be taken (in my case, in the forms of perhaps not staying out so late at some unknown parts of town and toning down on the partying) but in any case, there’s 503 Million people living in the European Union, and more if you count those countries not included in the EU. And they’ve been able to carry on with their lives since November 13th.

The truth is, there’s always going to be risks – there’s even risks in not taking risks. Just as I was walking home from work today, I saw the local police block off a street completely and from what I could observe there’s a car with the windows broken, a white sheet laid out on the street and the fire brigade and ambulance leaving the scene…

I have no idea what’d happened. Other than misfortune can befall any one of us at any given time – so with that in mind, it is ever more imperative to carry on with courage and do exactly what you set out to accomplish because they matter.

I’m putting off Christmas purchases

After being bombarded with ads and deals both online and in fliers I receive in the mail, I’ve been enticed to shop (round of applause for the marketers out there) – however, I’m not going to buy anything.

I don’t need them.

I may want new gym gear but I don’t need new gym gear.

I have so many NikePro gear lying around, it’s just a matter of finding them hidden somewhere in the corner of my closet. I don’t need to update them since they’re still functional, even though the branding might’ve worn off – but that’s not an excuse for me to shell out money I don’t want to spend just because the JUST DO IT sign is fading.

To add to that, I really don’t see the point of getting dressed up to the nines at the gym. Especially if the goal is to get all sweaty and gross – yeah.

I’d rather do more things, see more things, than own more things. 

And the same notion goes for all the other things I’ve been wanting – Do I really need them? Or is it just holiday marketing playing tricks on my mind?

12 hour days for a week, some food for thought

12 hour days x 7 days a week = no time for much of anything else.

Last week had been a hectic work week for me and it really helped to put things into perspective. Not only have I come to realize that 12 hours work days are unfeasible in the long run, I’ve also realized that I should’ve given my parents more credit – after long days at work – we’re not in the best of moods and looking back all those rows I’ve had with my parents are perhaps not at all intentional but rather a product of exhaustion and stress.

Another thing I’ve learned about working long hours, if even for a week was that organizing becomes ever more crucial and that leisure time is something that’s to be scheduled afterwards because sleep becomes king outside of work, whereas food preparations become so impossible that by the end of the week all you want to do is to cook for yourself instead of eating out…oh yes, I’ve officially eaten at Starbucks and other grab and go restaurants too much now to want to voluntarily go there and eat lunch for some time. In addition, it is highly probably that your fitness plans would also go downhill because, when you only have perhaps 10 hours to yourself, and 7 hours is for sleep – the other 3 hours for misc. trying to squeeze more activities in just seems impossible.

Now, that said. I’m off to bed!

I stand with Paris, I stand with France, long live Liberty!

Tragedy struck all of us on the evening of November 13th, 2015 Paris time. The magnitude of the situation goes beyond blood shed and lives lost – the repeated attacks on Paris sent shockwaves worldwide – and friends and family have been trying to talk me out of making that winter trip.

This is not the first time something had ‘happened’ in Paris, or Europe in general this year. If you were to follow the news, you’d have a clue as to what’s happening. Europe is facing a major crisis and the foiled train attack in late August gave me a bad feeling that there was definitely more to the story, which now news sources declare as ‘War in Paris’.

War on European grounds.

However, I am not cancelling my trip.

The whole point of having ‘freedom’ is to live the life you chose, and if you cannot then what’s the point of liberty and freedom and life itself? France has always been the symbol of liberty (mind you France gifted the US with the Statue of Liberty)! If you cannot chose the life for yourself, it wouldn’t be a life worth living. And if you need any convincing, just look at the Parisians, night after terrorist attack.

Freedom means being fearless.

Freedom means not submitting.

Freedom means standing up for what you believe in, and living the life you chose!

Happiness is when I’m under my travel budget!

Last night I did some number crunching and I’m happy to report that I’m below budget, even though I have not been too ‘restricting’ with my travel plans, in fact, this year I thought I’d go try out first class seats on trains – since I’m going to be on them a lot – hence, I splurged on those train rides, some which also include meals, thank you Swedish rails and DB Bahn! Oh and train vs. plane? It all depends on how much luggage you have and whether you’d like to sit down and enjoy the view, or get somewhere really fast. I’m hoping that I’d get some work done while on the train – which are promised to have WiFi connection.

That aside, I’ve been somewhat frugal with my stays again – the rooms I’ve booked on average are all below 100 Euros (though I know for some this number might seem a little high – but I’m a firm believer in mix and matching where it counts) and all of the places I’ve booked comes with breakfast included – which means, stuffing my face during the AM really and going out exploring for the rest of the day (to which I can already imagine how sore my legs will be) but then there will also be a lot of street food, and oh god, BEERS, yes more beer, bier, biertje, öl, øl consumed…haha, now how many languages is that?

Also another tip is prepay everything. I don’t mean pre-pay in a huge lump sum before your trip – no. I mean, incorporate your travels into your monthly bill – like for the plane tickets I’ve booked are already paid off months ahead of time. And that’s a very freeing feeling because now I only have to take care of the other 2/3 portion before my trip which gives me wiggle room for…

You guessed it.

More beers with friends!!!!

(And if I’m really adventurous, an extra city during my visit this time! Stay tuned!)