Transitioning from a full-time student into a full-time employee, entrepreneur, spouse, or parent can be upending and challenging. Your routines will change, the ways in which you spend your time will change, and inevitably, your influences (and stimuli) will become less diverse. Rather than sitting in on lectures day in and day out, you will find yourself doing much the same day-after-day. The good news is that you can do something about this! Here are five ways to continue learning after college.
Join a Discussion-based Club
For students (and former students) that are looking to stay intellectually stimulated and involved, joining a discussion-based club might be worth considering. This can be anything from a monthly book club with friends to a local political chapter – the choice is yours. Find clubs in your area using social media sites like Meetup or Facebook, and join. The obligations are usually minimal, and your level of commitment is entirely up to you. Attend as often or as little as you’d like. However, don’t be surprised if you become a regular, as you may just find that such a club is exactly what you have been seeking since you graduated.
Take Post-Graduate & Continuing Education Courses
Night school may not be at the top of your list of things to do after graduating college, but you may be surprised at the benefits it can provide. Many colleges offer continuing education courses for prominent software programs and industry disciplines, which could give you a leg up over your co-workers. Many universities and colleges also offer arts and crafts classes, for those seeking a more personal (and fun) education. If you’ve always wanted to paint, or are interested in taking up woodworking but lack a shop of your own, college coursework may prove to be the solution. And of course, it bears mentioning that earning a post-graduate degree could set you down a path to career success and exponentially higher earnings. With multiple resources, like online MCAT prep, continuing your education is quite simple.
Listen to Podcasts & Books-On-Tape During Your Commute
As someone new to the workforce, you may find that your daily responsibilities and obligations leave you little time for leisure time, let alone reading. Podcasts and books-on-tape can help you satiate your reading fix without actually sitting down to read – and help your mind stay sharp and up-to-date on current events. If you drive to and from work, or take the train, consider listening to podcasts or books rather than music. After all, you can always play music in the background when you’re at work, but to truly get the most from a podcast or book-on-tape, you have to be paying attention. And what better time than those 30-60 minutes of alone time that you get twice daily?
Attend Local Lectures & Readings
What do you do if you are interested in intellectual discussion, but don’t want to join a club? Or perhaps you’d like to take continuing education courses, but have no interest in arts and crafts? Well, attending a local lecture or book reading might be right up your alley. Book stores, coffee shops, college campuses, local theaters, art museums and galleries, and wine bars are great places to find intellectually stimulating discussion on a range of topics, from politics to art and religion. Instead of staying in and watching Netflix, consider becoming part of the scene instead. Attend a TED Talk. See a poetry slam. Do something. Not only will it satisfy your need for intellectual curiosity, but you might just meet some new friends in the process.
Explore Online Resources
Of course, it’s impossible to discuss post-college education without mentioning the Internet. Put simply, the odds are good that of all the options on this list, this is the one you’ll end up taking advantage of. And it’s easy to see why. The Internet puts the world’s knowledge at your fingertips, and you can learn at your own pace, on your own schedule, right from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. What’s not to like? Whether you decide to brush up on a particular professional skill, using sites like Treehouse and Lynda.com, or want to learn more about entrepreneurship, with resources like Amway Connections and Entrepreneur.com, you will find that there are no shortage of resources available to you. Find your niche and dig deep – the knowledge to be found is endless.
Don’t Let Graduation Kill Your Curiosity
You don’t have to close your books for good simply because you’ve graduated college – nor should you. There are a multitude of ways to continue your education once you’ve left school. You simply have the pick the options that work best for you. Do so and you could find yourself constantly learning new skills that you can apply in all facets of life.