Resourcefulness…in learning

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Resourcefulness, according a my quick Google search; is a noun meaning the ability to deal skillfully,ingeniously and promptly with new situations, When I apply it to learning; it’s the ability to creatively come up with new strategies and processes for acquiring knowledge.  I feel to be a truly resourceful learner requires one to be curious and inquisitive; as well as bit of a spendthrift.

I have always been very creative and I have always been a bit of a tightwad.  Why pay for something when I can make it myself?  I love to sew, decorate and dumpster dive.  I have always had the ability to see something in its current state be transformed in my mind’s eye to something completely different.  I make my own patterns and engineer my own designs.  I may not always know how to get an item to the finished state but I love to figure it out.  My curiosity has struck again with my desire to reinvent myself through learning.  I see the job I want someday.  I can actually see myself doing the work and performing in the role.  I am trying to devise a strategy to get myself to that point where I am the employee my next employer wants.
The next job I want is to work for a nonprofit agency that believes in new urbanism.  What is new urbanism you ask?  Well, it is an international movement concerned with tackling the problems associated with urban sprawl and car dependency.  Predictions for the future indicate that well over 70% of the earth’s population will live in urban cities by 2050.  I want to work for an organization that concerns itself with walkability, sustainability and resiliency in the urban environment.  I have grown to really love the heart of our american cities; the downtown and the elements of design I see everywhere I go while traveling as a flight attendant.  Marty and I love riding bikes and exploring new places while on bikes.  It is easy to see in some cities great growth and prosperity but others are struggling under the weight of unemployment and lack of development.  Exploration ultimately leads to comparison.  Why do some urban areas have “it” and others don’t? 
As I reinvent myself and seek ways to really learn all that I need to know for this future career, I have identified ways to bridge the gaps in my knowledge base. My favorite ingenuous tool is Google search.  I love Google search.  I can ask Google anything and there is always an answer or a direction of where to go next.  Google searching has led me to specific coursework, YouTube videos, pdf textbooks and class content.  As I “hack” this education, I find Google leads me to sources like a personal concierge.  I often find sources and content for free.  Many of America’s best universities have their content online and open shareware is prolific on the web.  MIT has one of the largest databases of open shareware with course videos, syllabus’s, class notes, projects and tests available; all for free.  I will take a combination of courses from many respected American universities.
I plan to use the powers of observation.  After reading a book by the great social writer and activist, Jane Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities, I have looked at cities differently. I want to be a student of observation and write what I see when I travel.  I want to study the city before going there, observe and evaluate the use of space and write my observations on my blog.  I have already begun this as you will see in my post about Tulsa, OK.  Marty and I have many upcoming field trips planned.  There are many cities on our “bucket list” to be seen.  We plan to go to Corpus Christie, TX this next weekend.  We plan to go to Tokyo in February to see our daughter in Japan.
I know my writing skills need to improve.  My writing is clunky at best right now but I know that the best way to improve my writing skills is to write.  I have started this blog to hon my skills and get me thinking in complete sentences again.  It’s been a few years since I have had my writing evaluated or read.  The last few years I have been essentially writing only status posts on Facebook.  I plan to do the writing projects that are part of the shareware coursework. I will post those assignments on my blog and I encourage my readers to critique my work!  My husband is a very good writer and I generally accept his criticism openly.  I look forward to sharpening our writing skills together, as he will be blogging on this site as well.
I desire to get involved in the political process a bit as well.  I have no desire to run for office but I do think I need to understand the process better.  I will schedule observation experiences where I go to city planning meetings and zoning meetings.  I need to learn the jargon and I need to see how the process works (or doesn’t).  I plan to take a grant writing course.  When I went to Tulsa, I Google searched information about their planning department.  I read their website; looked at past newsletters and tried to get an understanding what they are doing in Tulsa. I also grabbed a few of their local papers while I was there.
I am reading many blogs and newsletters from nonprofit groups; following up on industry news and trying to stay informed about the movement.  I also watch webinars from past conventions and training done by various groups.  The webinars are often uploaded on YouTube channels and are free to watch.  This movement is growing rapidly and much of what is being taught or experienced has happened in the last three years.
A combination of creativity, ingenuity, curiosity and resourcefulness is key to engineering my reinvention.  The learning process will always require critical thinking, observation, discussion and writing but I argue the way of learning in the future is more dynamic and fluid.  The internet has become my source and the world my classroom.  Follow me in this journey and see for yourself that learning is there for all who want to learn.  For those that have demonstrated critical thinking in past careers and in prior degrees, it does not need to be quantitated by expensive college tuition. Learn for the sake of learning!