Learning by doing – a story of independent learning

You have no teachers? No lectures? No exams? So how on earth do you learn?

Those are very typical questions I get to hear when I explain the learning model in my education unit, Proakatemia. We have all the great freedom, but it’s also followed by a huge responsibility.

I don’t want to look at myself facing graduation and realising that I haven’t learned anything. I don’t just want to float across these two and half years. I want to dive deep in the world of entrepreneurship and team learning; keep my eyes open, catch all of the opportunities, create an awesome network and when finally walking to my new life after graduation, smile to the world feeling confident and excited.

But to get to that point, I have to learn. A lot. And let me tell you how that is possible – all by myself. Well, not by myself. I have such a great learning environment around me; so much talented people and a supportive team around me. And that’s just amazing.

Find your passion

But first of all, the learning process always begins with an interest. My interest was marketing. I thought I knew already something about the subject but I wanted to learn more and get to use my skills in practice. So when I heard about the marketing and communications team of Proakatemia, I was so excited! That was exactly where I needed to be!

Luckily I got chosen and I got the opportunity and responsibility to handle all of our educational units marketing and communications together with the team. The team was lead by extremely lovely and talented person, called Emmi. Emmi had such an interesting story – still a year ago she wasn’t even on Facebook and now she was offering digital marketing services to real clients and was the Head of Marketing at Proakatemia. Such an inspiration!

While I was working with Emmi operating the units marketing I got to watch her work closely. It was so interesting! Emmi brought a lot of her knowledge to our team and we used plenty of digital marketing strategies and tools in our marketing also. While I got more and more into the digital world, I got more and more fascinated and interested. My passion for marketing had sharpened for the digital side. I had a secret dream; maybe in one year I could be as good and talented as Emmi.

Learning by doing

I told Emmi about my crush for digital marketing. And she was almost as excited as I was! She loved her work but she had so much to do that she had difficulties handling it all alone. “I good use some spare hands”, she said. And so I found my mentor. During our first proper meet-up we talked about what I already knew, what would I want to know and what would be useful to know. Emmi wrote a list of good websites, videos, webinars and people to follow. “This will mean long nights and a lot of independent work and research, but remember that I’m always here for any questions”. And she really kept her promise. When ever I had even the tiniest question on my mind, she would raise her head from the computer screen, look me in the eyes, smile and ask “How can I help you?”.

“You’ll never know, if you never try.”

Our marketing team started to work in a mutual project, Academic Adventures. Emmi reminded me, what a great opportunity this was to practice my skills and gain more knowledge. I really took the hint. I took lots of responsibility in the project and wanted to be a part of everything that had something to do with digital marketing. And oh boy, I’m so glad I did. I just have been learning so, so much during this project!

I set a goal to myself; by the end of summer I would have enough skills in digital marketing that I could offer my services for real customer and ask for a decent recompense of my work. Well, a week went by and Emmi asked if I would like to join her with some of her projects – and possibly even take over some of her work! I was a little scared at first and asked if I could think about it over the night.

The next morning I woke up and I had figured something out: you’ll never learn, if you never try. Sometimes you just have to jump in a little too big boots and grow into them. After I got over my fears, I’ve offered my help to some of my team mates and other members of our community. Now people are even approaching me themselves to ask help! 

It feels like I will achieve my goals earlier than expected. Sometimes it’s a little scary and sometimes I doubt if I’m good enough, but you’ve just got to trust yourself – and learn by doing.

– Juuli Tappura, member of the Academic Adventures marketing team

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