School holidays ‘to-do’ list

For the students among you, after months of classes and exams, the year-end break has finally arrived.

Many of us tend to spend the school holidays catching up on TV shows and movies, play games, hang out with friends or simply laze around at home.

However, there are actually productive things to do during those weeks.

In fact, with so much free time at hand, you can pick up a new hobby or skill, or even prepare yourself for further studies by visiting education fairs.

Here are a few of the many other ways to spend your school holidays:

Gain new knowledge

There are things in this world that you may not even be aware of because you’ve been concentrating so much on your studies, and therefore the school holidays is a great time to expand your horizon.

You can go to your old school to read books and magazines, as well as talking to people who are knowledgeable in your subject of interest.

And thanks to the World Wide Web, you can explore articles, documentaries and numerous other educational materials online.

Although it can be tricky navigating through countless online information, it would help if you focus on a few topics that you’re most interested in learning more about.

Travel

When it comes to travel, you should seriously consider your ‘backyard’ as your next destination, especially when it’s a road less travelled.

If flying overseas is out of the question, Malaysia alone has so many to offer in terms of things to see and do, which, lest we forget, other people fly halfway around the world to experience.

The same goes for travelling within our home Sarawak, which is internationally known for its culture, adventure and nature tourism.

As we’ve mentioned before, you can gain invaluable experience by travelling regardless of the destination; from improving creativity and communication to broadening life values and perspectives.

Work part-time

The school holidays can be an opportune time for you to learn financial independence and gain work experience, which will be beneficial when you apply for a full-time position in the future.

Having a part time job also tests your ability to manage time, in terms of adapting and adhering to a work schedule.

Additionally, you’ll be able to build your network through colleagues you’ll encounter at your workplace.

Improve your health

If you haven’t been taking good care of yourself throughout your studies, the school holidays would be the best time to start practising a healthier lifestyle.

Eat healthily, exercise regularly and make sure you get enough sleep; then ensure that you carry on this lifestyle by the time you go back to school or enter into college.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2Bywagd

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Should you be data literate?

We have previously discussed the benefits and opportunities arising from the increased availability and access to data in the digital economy, including big data and open data.

Yet, the desired improvements that we hope to achieve through data might not come to fruition without the human element, that is if we don’t make use of the data to its fullest potential or, worse still, we don’t even know how to use the data in the first place.

This is why we need to possess skills and knowledge in data literacy. Although its purpose and emphasis may differ from field to field, data literacy can be generally defined as our ability to read, evaluate, work with, and question data.

It includes searching and determining data relevance and reliability; interpreting data visualisations like charts and graphs; thinking critically of data; knowing how to use data analytics tools; and communicating results based on data.

In an era where we are surrounded by massive amounts of data every day, being data literate allows us to gather insights through data collected, interpreted and visualised; and to take proper and effective actions based on our discoveries.

This becomes crucial in today’s workplace, which is increasingly dependent on data to drive its operations, including jobs and departments where data analytics isn’t their primary function.

This means that the demand for individuals with strong data literacy is on the rise, be it data or non-data professionals, and further indicates that data literacy is more common and significant than we think.

In view of this, more academic and practical courses aiming to boost data literacy are being made available online and offline for business, government, tertiary institutions and the general public around the world.

Here in Sarawak, for example, the Sarawak Centre of Performance Excellence (SCOPE) has recently partnered with Kuala Lumpur-based Center of Applied Data Science (CADS) – the first one-stop platform and centre of excellence for data science and analytics in Southeast Asia – to develop up to 2,500 local talents through various data-related and talent development programmes.

These future data-proficient professionals will then become the key to foster a strong data-driven culture and eventually contribute to the state’s digital economy.

While some of you may not have a background in data science and analytics, that shouldn’t stop you from improving your own data literacy, whether you’re in a technical or non-technical field.

For instance, you can develop a strong foundation in your mathematical, statistical and data analytical skills through short courses.

Essentially, get curious, ask questions and be comfortable around data so that you have a greater understanding and appreciation for its potential in your work, studies and daily life.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Friday, June 1, 2018.

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