Today, we’re introducing to you a new weekly “How to” series. Each Friday, we’ll be sharing some practical and hopefully helpful tips on a variety of topics, starting with how to never stop learning.
Nerd alert: I love to learn. I think that’s why I enjoy working with technology so much — it changes constantly and forces its users to continue learning and innovating.
As it’s currently the second session of Summer Stampede, looking at all these incoming freshmen makes me a little envious of their next four years. They have so much to learn and so many amazing opportunities to do so! But then I remember something I once heard upon entering college: You go to college for one main reason — to learn how to really learn.
So what are we, as postgraduates, learning now? Going back to school for a graduate or professional degree is valuable if you are able to make that commitment, but it is by no means the only avenue to make learning a priority in your life.
What if we were to view our diplomas as a license for a lifetime of learning instead of a certificate of achievement? Here are just a few methods in which I like to keep learning at the top of my to-do list:
1. Read. It’s not always easy to carve out time to read, but I recommend making it a priority. There is value in fiction and nonfiction, so try to include a little of both. If your attention span is as short as mine, try getting the more in-depth reads in audio book format to listen to while you run errands, do dishes, etc.
2. Subscribe to newsletters or news networks. You can’t be effective in a world you know nothing about. Keeping informed is what empowers us to instigate change. Most online news outlets offer an option for email subscriptions, so sign up and start your day in the know.
3. Listen to a podcast. When I feel like every song on the radio has been played 8,000 times, it’s nice to switch things up with a podcast. There’s a podcast for practically every topic you can think of, so download one to your phone and play it during your work commute in the mornings.
4. Attend local lectures or readings. If the idea of sitting in a lecture after work makes you want to take a nap, fear not. Local lectures are a unique opportunity to hear from real people making a real difference. Harding’s American Studies Institute Distinguished Lecture Series is a great example. You can’t just listen to Condoleezza Rice for 45 minutes and go back to life as a couch potato.
5. Take a weekly class. Classes offered in your community are the perfect place to meet new people, discover a new favorite hobby, or even simplify your daily routine. Organizations that commonly offer weekly classes are schools, hospitals, gyms, libraries and others. Take a cooking class. Pick up photography. The options are endless.
6. Join a club or professional organization. If you’re not sure what’s available in your area, websites like MeetUp and GroupSpaces allow you to find others with similar interests or hobbies for group events in your area. Join a group that meets weekly, find a professional conference, or even host your own event.
7. Discover webinars and blogs. Webinars and blogs have made all the difference for me professionally. There are endless resources and topics to learn from experts, and the best part is most are free. Bloggers are also generally pretty good about responding to messages — so why not gain a professional contact and mentor? Which brings me to my next point:
8. Find a mentor. Find people who are already where you want to be in the future. If hindsight vision is 20/20, shouldn’t we be seeking advice from those who have already been where we are and have a better perspective?
9. Travel — or at least be a tourist. How sad it would be to only know about one piece of the world. One of my favorite parts about being in the Harding community is how much travel is encouraged. If time or finances restrict your travel opportunities, find ways to be a tourist in your hometown. Seek new places and experiences simply for the sake of adventure.
10. Be a project person. There’s something to be said for those who take pride in their work — which is often the result of a pet project. We all have unique skills and talents and, therefore, an obligation to use them and contribute. Find time in your day for something made entirely on your own. Whether it’s starting a garden or your own business, take risks, practice perseverance and make it yours.
Bethany Aspey, web content manager