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6 Ways To Continue Your Education As An Adult

May 10, 2018

Older adults continue to have a passion for learning. But there are ways to achieve this even if you’re not ready to return to the classroom.

Through our life and experiences, we are always continuing our learning no matter what. However, our education tends to change once we leave the school portion of our life behind. Our careers offer continued opportunities to learn as a way of becoming more successful in our jobs. But in most cases much of that learning takes place early in our careers. What opportunities are left for older adults who hope to continue their education?

Going back to school, while a great avenue for adults, is not an option for everyone. As we get older that passion for learning becomes stronger. Many adults look for ways of exploring new areas, gaining new knowledge and expanding their education. While opportunities of our youth might be behind us, there is no reason that should stop us from furthering our education no matter our age. Here are just some of the ways you can continue your learning and maintain a fulfilling education.

Find areas that interest you.

When pursuing further learning the best place to start is with something you have a genuine passion for. When you have a vested interest in the subject, it helps to motivate you further to learn more. Consider your interests then narrow it down to areas of curiosity. What are the questions you’ve always wondered about your favourite subjects? Explore those questions and let them take you into new areas of discovery. Sometimes teaching yourself something can feel like a chore no matter your dedication, but anchoring your learning in something you love can keep you engaged and passionate about the process.

Dive deeper in your career.

Another great place for exploring new learning opportunities is with your current career. As mentioned above, to develop the skills and expertise we need to excel in the job takes a great deal of learning early in our careers. We may still learn new things throughout our professional years, but we become confident in our work and tend to become less engaged in the learning aspect of the job after some years. But there’s always more to learn, not just as a way of remaining engaged with the work but also to improve as a professional. To reignite your career-focused learning, try to step away from the surface-level view of your job. It’s not just about learning the necessary skills to do your job effectively — it’s about staying informed about the industry as a whole, looking forward at its future, researching new methods and approaches to the work. If you have a genuine interest in your work, why not explore it a little deeper?

Expand your reading list.

No matter your age, keeping up with reading is a great way to keep your mind sharp. Many people read leisurely just as a hobby and so their usual reading material isn’t necessarily the most intellectually challenging stuff. Don’t get me wrong — there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a good page-turner murder mystery for fun, but how much is it teaching you? To get a little more out of your reading time, try to introduce some more variety into the process. Learn more about a current news item, delve into a unique period in history, or just pick a book at random. Keeping reading as a hobby is so important, but adding some new things to that reading list can help make the experience even richer.

Attend conferences and seminars.

Along the lines of your expanded reading list, be open and willing to hear from the experts. Find a subject you want to learn more about and look for opportunities to hear from professionals with expertise in those fields. A great way to do this is by seeking out conferences and lectures from these types of experts. Listening to someone with a deep knowledge and an obvious passion of a subject can really help to draw you into the content and get you engaged. These events can also be a great way to meet new people who might have a shared interest. Hear from an expert then talk with peers and fellow curious people about it all. Community can be a fantastic avenue for learning.

Take on new skills.

One of the best ways to learn is by doing. You can read up on just about any subject all you want, but practical application of that learning is the best way to make it stay with you. We all have those skills we wish we had mastered at some point in our life, so why not take it on now? It can be a hobby skill like learning a new instrument. It can be a practical-use skill like a new language. Or it could be a career-related skill. Whatever it is, it becomes a new learning experience that allows you the great pleasure of putting what you learned to use. There are few things as gratifying as being able to say you can now do something that you could not do before.

Challenge yourself.

In the end, the most important thing to remember when trying to further your education is to push yourself. We’re not in school anymore. We don’t have teachers and professors feeding us lesson plans and telling us what to read. We need to seek out our education on our own. And it doesn’t help us to remain among the subjects we’re already comfortable with. We need to move into areas that are new to us. It can be hard work, absolutely, but we all have learned by now that when something is difficult that only makes succeeding at it all the more rewarding.

 

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