I graduated university not too long ago, but my education didn’t stop just because I was “done” with school. There are a few things I do to keep up my educational growth.
Enroll in free online workshops/courses
If you do a search on Google for “free workshops in [insert skill here]” you are bound to find more than a few results that interest you in some capacity. I find that workshops and online courses help keep me motivated, engaged, learning, and productive (even throughout the day when I’m working on tasks that have nothing to do with those workshops or courses). One of the best sites I’ve found for online courses is Coursera. It used to be totally free to take workshops through them, but there is now an enrollment fee for some of their courses. What I like about the site is that you get a real certificate of completion for each course. Then if you finish all of the courses in a “specialization,” you get a Certificate of Specialization.
Read. A lot.
A good Dr. Seuss quote (among the many) is this: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” I didn’t love reading at first; as a child just learning to read, the whole concept was very frustrating. But once I learned how to read, I never stopped. I have dived into more imaginary worlds than I can keep up with, and I have learned so much – academically, emotionally, and spiritually – through books.
Make fast and hard changes in yourself and your environment
Change causes growth. It’s an unavoidable phenomenon in our world, but we can use it to continue learning about ourselves and our society. Even changing the little things in your routine – like the restaurant you go to for lunch each day – can force you to experience new things which results in growth. One of the big things you can do to induce change is to travel. I have yet to travel outside of my own country (the good ol’ USA), but I have been to a handful of other states in the country. Every time I have traveled, I have learned from the new people, foods, and lifestyles I’ve encountered.
Take time to relax and recharge
Self-care is so SO SO important for human beings to maintain healthy and balanced lifestyles. Learning to learn is an aspect of self-care, but it will only work if you also give yourself a break every once in a while. A big part of relaxing is understanding that your to-do list is a plan and not a requirement. I struggle a lot with this; I’m always trying to think of ways to be more productive and efficient to get the next thing done. But while this kind of thinking can be really beneficial sometimes, it is not healthy to think this way about everything all the time. It causes you to get overwhelmed which then causes you to actually get less done than you would have in the long-run.
My solution for “to-do-list-brain” is to forget the list. Schedule in a day each week (or an hour each day) to give yourself a break and not do anything that relates to work or school or [insert sometimes-crippling responsibility here]. I know this sounds unrealistic because almost all of us have extremely busy lives, but if you try this out maybe once a month, it really does help to take away a lot of stress. You’ll find yourself getting even more done the next time you actually pull out the to-do list.
Being a lifelong learner isn’t something that happens in an instant and then is done; you can’t do this for one day, that’s why it’s termed lifelong. It takes time and a commitment, but it is so worth the effort. I hope these tips help you implement a learning routine into your everyday hustle and grind! If you have other tips or want to share your experiences with the ones I’ve listed here, please do so in the comments. I would love to read what you have to say!