My Journey – Self Directed Learning


As of today, I am 21 years old. I am an Entrepreneur, Artist, Facilitator, Earth activist, and self-directed learner. I am going to share my journey as a self-directed learner.

As a little girl going to school and playing was what my life revolved around. I went to school because that’s what children do. I enjoyed school because I was a good student. I was very good at studies, very disciplined, well dressed, punctual and I did not trouble the teachers or ask questions in class. I was good at studies not because I understood the subjects but because I mastered the art of memorizing and photocopying the answers in the test. I was well dressed because of my mother. I was punctual because of my father. However, if I was not curious or a naughty child then I was losing the child in me.

Realizing this my parents decided to pull me out of school in the middle of my fifth grade. At the age of 10, a lot of this did not make sense to me. All I understood was that homeschooling was going to be fun and enjoyable and that’s what made me agree to leave school. The only thing at that time I regretted was losing my school friends.

6 months of homeschooling was super fun for me. Subjects became not about memorizing but understanding. What I really liked was the application of what I learnt. I learn about ships and made a model of it, I learnt to write Hindi and posted letters to my relatives. We travelled a lot as a family which was fun for me. For the first time maths became fun for me, the school had made me dislike it but when I did it with my father I was able to like it.

Self-directed learning for me happened in stages, After I left school I still used textbooks as a curriculum but my parents came in with activities to make it more fun and gave me a wider exposure. As things flowed from homeschooling to Aarohi and then moving from Bangalore to the village, my learning left the textbooks. I started doing what interested me. I started using other mediums to learn like videos, people and books apart from textbooks.

When I got into the groove of self-directed learning I began taking projects. I took the project of constructing the community kitchen at the Aarohi campus. It was a project of lots of failures and learnings. I also began doing once a week volunteering in space for differently-abled children in Bangalore.

I choose to not do my 10th exam. At the age of 14, I did not know what I want to do for a profession. I did not want to waste my time studying for an exam I thought to be useless. I wanted to rather explore and learn through experience. What really helped me in taking the decision of not doing my 10th exam was the support and acceptance of my parents.

My next stage was to go outside the home to learn, to travel, meet people, gain more perspectives, explore my interests deeper, do internships, and create a community of friends to enrich my life. I found this opportunity at Swaraj University – an alternative university in Udaipur. The two-year course at Swaraj gave me the opportunity to become independent, to explore and find my own values, to deepen my skills, and identify my passion. I got the opportunity to learn about many different things. I did internships, tried different things, and grew as an individual.

Swaraj is a degree less course, after the two years, I got confidence in the path I had chosen for myself and that I was capable of earning money without a degree. This confidence came because I had experience and skills from which I knew I could live a happy life and earn.During my time at Swaraj I did a called life beyond development – I took workshops for children and adults on the issues of environmental sustainability on a systemic and individual level.

After coming back from Swaraj, I understood that my interest areas are alternative education – facilitation with children and youth, environmental sustainability and Art/craft. For one year I explored all three through mini-projects.

After a year, Dhanak formed to deepen my passion forenvironmental sustainability.Dhanak is an entrepreneurial initiative to provide sustainable ideas, recipes, and products that tap into age-old practices, using natural ingredients, that are good for us as well as are in harmony with nature. Dhanak has a range of natural products for personal and home care.
Dhanak has been an amazing journey, lots of learning, and growth. I have learned so much about setting up and running a business,,about environmental sustainability, and learneddeeply about making handmade naturalcosmetics. I simply deep dived into the initiative and reaped lots of success and joyfrom it.

On the side, I also am an artist. I have begun my own art initiative Art Dil Se. I learn, make, and sell my art and craft through Art Dil Se.I do freelance facilitation sometimes.

The situation of Covid 19 brought amazing learnings too. The lockdown forced me to shut down Dhanak but open up so many other possibilities. I deepened my Art, my Facilitation, use the possibility of online, and even did volunteering work for the migrant works facing difficulty in the situation.
From July 2020 to March 2021 I am doing an 8 months Intensive residential program called Sadhanapada at the Isha yoga center, Coimbatore. I am taking a break from Dhanak to spend some time for inner transformation. To bring balance and joy within me through yoga, meditation, and volunteering at the Isha Ashram. I am wanting to explore the spiritual possibilities of life.

I believe that self-directed learning is about being a learner for life. Leading my life the way I want, continuously learning, and most importantly doing things that make me happy.