When we think of learning, we automatically associate it with school. And when we think of school, all we think of were the dreaded readings, the group projects, and the double digit papers that were all due at the same time. But “school” is different from “learning”. School is just one of the many places where learning can take place. Lifelong learning can take place outside the classroom, even far after we finish school.
In the post, I’m going to outline the ways I have become a lifelong learning after finishing school (for those of you who read my grad school post, undergrad would be the context here).
Read more books
It’s no surprise that reading is on this list. As a writer, it is crucial for me to strengthen and expand my vocabulary, and the best way of doing that is by reading. For me, reading is not only a way for me to learn something new, it’s a technique that I use to wind down before bed. I usually like to alternate between fiction and nonfiction books on topics that intrigue me. It might be the psychology of sleep or social media influencers; either way, I can walk away from the book learning something new that I never did before.
Take up a new hobby
What better way to learn than to try a new hobby or skill? Within the last year, I took up handlettering because it was something I had always admired, especially watching bullet journal plan with me videos. I simply researched the right supplies, sought them out, and sat down in front of YouTube with my guided worksheets and got started. In no time, I became a self-taught, proficient handletterer. It was great because I could really sit down and take my time to learn what it took to be good at handlettering. Plot twist: it’s a series of lines and strokes, so even if you don’t have good handwriting, you can be an amazing handletterer!
Watch a documentary
By far one of my favorite ways of learning is by watching documentaries. My favorite genre is fashion documentaries that outline a specific person, topic, or event. Fashion is an area I’ve always been fascinated by, so the moment I saw documentaries covering the Met Ball, Dior, and the issues surrounding fast fashion, I was hooked. Name a streaming service and they are bound to have a selection of documentaries that fit your fancy. Even if you are having a sick day or a lazy day, you are still secretly learning.
Check out trade-specific magazines/articles
Name a career or industry and chances are there are specific trade journals, magazines, or articles on that topic. For me, that is marketing and branding. As a part of my American Marketing Association annual membership, I get copies of the “Journal of International Marketing”. Though these articles tend to be more research based, you can learn something about the problem at hand and the results of the study. This can help you in your day-to-day job, especially if your company faces the same issues. Don’t have time to read right then and there? Save the article for when you have some down time (or waiting in line time). Related but unrelated, magazines like “The New Yorker” and “The Atlantic” have great articles on all areas of study.
I can’t stress experiences enough. It is worth arguing that experiences are what makes us better at life. We learn more in one experience than we do with years of studying. The perfect example to illustrate this is solo traveling. This year was my first year taking a solo trip. And boy, do you learn things when you are navigating another country all by yourself. You learn customs, culture, and more that will impact your time there. For example, I learned not to take a tuk-tuk while in Thailand because the prices were twice what it was to just take a Grab (its version of rideshare). I also learned to be extra careful when booking your accommodations, especially in a big city such as Bangkok. No matter how much research I did ahead of time, I never really learned anything until I got there to experience it for myself.
And there you have it! These are just a few of the many actions you can take to continue learning once you finish school.
How do you keep learning even when you finish school?