By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca

I sometimes hear friends and other people verbalizing their desire to pursue further studies like enrolling in cooking classes, joining self-enhancement seminars, or taking up their Masters but having no time to do so. I have the same sentiments once in a while but make do with other things I CAN afford to do and spend time on.

For me, learning for adults like us should be a continuous process and must not always require formal schooling or enrollment in a class. Yes, it’s great if we can shell out money to pay for tuition or seminar/workshop fees but having no budget should not stop us from pursuing other things.

These past years, I’ve been able to expand my knowledge through self-study. I have long since acknowledged that I won’t always have the time to set aside these many hours or days to attend learning/training sessions somewhere, or that I will be able to shell out enough money to pay an instructor to teach me something.

For instance, when I got hooked on The Corrs’ music some years back, I had a cousin buy me Irish pennywhistles from the U.S. even though I’m not even sure if I could play one when they get here. A few months later, I was able to play Irish melodies from memory without looking at notes anymore!

While I was pregnant with my second child and had extra time on my hands, I also finally learned how to do cross-stitch projects properly and realized how enjoyable it is. For the next year or so, I was able to have more than a dozen creations framed and hanged on our walls.

The saying that goes “When there’s a will, there’s a way” is true. If I want to know how to do a task and I can’t afford to pay for acquiring the knowledge, I research and try to learn it on my own. When I started my own blog back in 2003, I had no idea how htmls work or what they are in the first place. I also don’t have the slightest clue about using new software that makes Power Point presentations or converts mov files to mpeg and wav files to mp3s.

But, with enough resolve to figure everything out plus a little help from techie friends who willingly answered my numerous questions, I slowly learned how to do stuff online by myself. I know I still have a lot to discover and apply, but I’m getting there.

As to my kids, I’m proud to say that my firstborn learned to play the guitar very well just by watching instructional videos and printing out music sheets from the Internet. He practices day and night and gets better by the minute. My youngest, on the other hand, could now play anime theme songs on the piano also by watching tutorials on YouTube. How’s that for determination and thirst for knowledge?

So, I think I can safely say we’re proof that learning doesn’t have to be expensive or that one has to wait for the perfect moment. Right now is better than any other time.