Spreading the Love of Learning: Meet, Sonal
May 12, 2017 | Sara Reich
Sonal, a lifelong learner on edX, shares her passion for inspiring others to improve their lives and build a better world through education.
I took my very first MITx class in 2012, when I had just turned 50. Since then, I have never stopped learning on edX. After five years of learning I have earned more certificates than my own age! Learning on edX has truly changed my life.
My learning journey over the last five years on edX has certainly been the most exciting time in my life.
Since I began learning on edX, my life has felt much fuller, exciting and interesting.
In my formal education, I received a PhD in physics. This field of study did not involve a lot of interaction with other people, and when I started learning on edX I realized that I was far more interested in sciences that involved people! I took classes which were more social in nature and I learned so many new subjects alongside thousands of people from around the world.
I’ve taken many courses on edX, and I’ve learned so much from all of them. The courses u.lab: Leading From the Emerging Future and Awareness-Based Systems Change with u.lab – How to Sense and Actualize the Future from MITx have been particularly helpful for me. When I was taking these courses, I joined the Boston Impact Hub, where we met every week and discussed how we can apply our skills to bring about much needed social change. By applying the learnings from these courses in my life, I became a ‘black belt listener:’ through the continuous practice of deep listening, I learned to listen empathetically and view the world through the eyes of others.
Another course I took on edX is The Science of Happiness from UC BerkeleyX. During this course, I learned about meditation, which is something I do to help me stay motivated. I now meditate for one to two hours daily. Three years ago, I also led the MindHandHeart team at MIT as a returning graduate of The Science of Happiness.
I’ve also been inspired to learn different languages and cultures on edX. I took the China and the Modern World XSeries from HarvardX, and was motivated to learn Mandarin! I then took Tsinghua Chinese: Start Talking with 1.3 Billion People from TsinghuaX. I still practice my Chinese skills on university campuses, where I meet many tourists from China! The course helped me connect with many of these visitors, and I also learned a lot about Chinese culture and lifestyle.
Ever since I began learning on edX, I haven’t stopped spreading my love for online learning.
EdX has courses that fit everyone’s needs and interests, and continuous learning is a must for everyone and in every field. So why wait? Start with just one course and you will never be able to stop learning on edX! EdX has also kept me connected with world-class teachers and amazing students from around the world, many of whom have become my very good friends.
For the last seven years, I have been volunteering at the MIT Museum. For three of those years I have shared my passion for learning on edX with hundreds of visitors from around the world. So many of them have asked me interesting questions about how to stay motivated and which courses they should take. Often my visitors also have course recommendations for me, which I have enjoyed.
A year ago, I also had the chance to speak about edX in India. I gave talks at various schools, colleges, and companies to share my passion and intention to inspire more people to start learning on edX.
I love telling stories about my experiences on edX and motivating others to register for courses.
Recently, I had the opportunity to teach Python programming to visually impaired students from India through a non-profit organization based in Boston. I got involved in teaching and realized that the edX platform is accessible for the visually impaired, so I was inspired to show my student some courses on edX.
I want to become a catalyst in democratizing education to help reduce inequality in the world through my passion for connecting and online learning. edX provides great resources that I can utilize in this task, so I am excited to be part of the community of edX learners who are passionately working towards bringing about positive change and building a kinder and more empathetic society.
I hope my story can inspire others to help spread their love of learning to build a better world for everyone through education.
When I first started learning on edX, I never thought that I would be inspired to leave the work I was doing and start spreading passion for online learning. Life is short and we have to make the best of it and live fully. On edX, I learned to value special moments in life, to feel happiness from within, and to connect with the world.
My philosophy as a life-long learner on edX is: the most important thing is not how well you do in the course or how many certificates and degrees you earn, but how you apply what you learn to connect with the world, improve yourself, inspire others to learn and help others in every way possible. We all have something interesting to teach others. On edX we get this wonderful opportunity to learn and share as a global community. Do not waste time, get started learning on edX and connect with the world. Together we can make this world a better place for everyone!