Identifying Your Subject

20.09.2017 |

Episode #2 of the course Learn any subject with your own curriculum by Michelle Gommel


Now that you’ve learned why creating your own curriculum is necessary, let’s dive deeper and figure out what subject you want to learn. Some of you may already have a topic in mind, but others may only have a vague idea of a career path. How do you turn that idea into a searchable term?


Google Is Your Best Friend

For the duration of this course, you will find that Google is, hands down, the best resource to start from. To use it for the purpose of a career path, there are two things you can do to find your subject:

First, you can look up job listings in your desired field. What requirements do employers have as far as subject knowledge or degrees? For instance, to be an administrative assistant or to do many other types of desk work, employers may require mastery of Microsoft Office, communication skills, or even experience with web design. Write those down, and keep the list near you as you continue your research.

Second, you can look up degree plans from universities that offer your chosen subjects. It’s not always as easy as a simple subject name, like psychology or chemistry. The courses required for degrees often have different, specific names. One example is linguistics: Very few graduates of linguistics have ever taken a course actually named that. Instead, they take courses like semiotics, phonetics, morphology, and other words you’ve probably never heard of if you’re a beginner in the subject. Write those down, and pay close attention to the order they’re suggested in for the university’s degree plan. That order will come into play later, when you’re deciding how to organize your studying materials!


Decide on Your Primary Subject

Once you have done all the research you need and your list of terms is up to about ten or so, narrow that down to a single, main search term to begin with. Now, take a look at the rest of your list, and try to narrow it down a little bit more. If it turns out that you need to add something back later, that’s okay, but don’t forget that this curriculum should have an achievable end point! Try to pare down your list to three to four peripheral subjects.


Write Down Your Limitations

While I’m sure you would love to have all the time and money in the world, most of us work on budgets and deadlines. Before you begin your search, decide on how much money you are willing and able to spend on your pursuit of knowledge. You should also decide on a reasonable timeline in which you’d like to complete your curriculum. It can be a vague and totally arbitrary goal, like by the end of the year, or it can be very specific, depending on your needs.

In the next lesson, we’ll dive into my very favorite topic: searching for materials. I’ll walk you through the best tools and tricks for finding the best courses online and how to figure out which are right for you.

Yours truly,



Recommended book

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey


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