The Self Taught Life

What it's like to self-educate and make the most out of it.


You may have read or heard of Emily Dickinson’s poem “I’m Nobody! Who are You?”. This has been in my head for quite a while now. Not because I’m having an identity crisis or anything but because of how society dictates who you are. Growing up, it’s ingrained in me that to be successful in life I have to study hard (in school), graduate (with honours – cause I’m Asian LOL) and build my career (a high paying one). That’s like the golden rule to be successful. LOL. So even before graduating high school, you need to figure out WHO/WHAT you need to be. You’re only viewed as successful or capable of doing the job when you had a formal education or professional training. Anything outside that is just a hobby.

That is what I feel right now. I feel insecure to pursue a “hobby”. I graduated as a Software Engineer and I’m thankful and blessed to be having a career in that field. At the same time, I LOVE baking! I want to pursue it and earn from it too. I’ve been baking ever since I was young and started learning about cake decorating from YouTube videos. SELF-TAUGHT. I didn’t have the luxury of time (and money) to go back to school and study pastries/desserts. I have to pay off my student loan, pay debts that I have from my school days and help out my parents with monthly expenses. Self-education and practice was my best choice to pursue my passion.

I’ve received great feedback for the baked goods I bring to family gatherings or parties but I’m still not confident enough to put myself out there. I’m scared that I am not good enough because I didn’t have the formal education for it. I keep thinking that people will not like what I make because I didn’t have a diploma/certificate for it. I didn’t want to be judged by those who studied baking and cake decorating.

I’m really grateful that I have a very encouraging support group – my family and friends. They have encouraged me to pursue baking and cake decorating. They have supported me by buying from me to help me practice my craft and pay for the ingredients and tools that I’m using. They have also promoted me to their friends and co-workers that really helped kickstart my baking dreams. I’m still learning and improving.

Because of my family and friends that supported me, I was able to build my confidence. Without their support, my love for baking will just stay hidden. I will not be able to overcome my fears and insecurities. I probably have stopped learning and improving my skills. Also, I wouldn’t be able to start earning to help fund more learning opportunities. From the sales I’ve made, I’m able to take learning further. I’m able to take some cake decorating classes, learn how to make other desserts, etc.

If you love and enjoy what you’re doing or studying for, keep it up! You are a SOMEBODY.

“Learning is a treasure that will follow it owner everywhere”

Chinese Proverb


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