Life Long Learning

Do you remember the scents and sounds of school? Perhaps you are old enough to remember the smell of pencil shavings, Crayola crayons during art time or text books. Maybe you can recall the sounds of your friends on the playground at recess, the ringing of the school bell signaling freedom for the rest of the day. Weather these memories are fond or not, you might want to consider life long learning. If you are of a certain age it won’t be like grade school.

Per some of the benefits of life long learning include. A better chance of being employed. Some estimates predict up to of half of all current jobs could be eliminated by 2025. I think that’s over stated however I know the value of improving work skills. When I was working full time I took every course my employers offered. Almost every job now requires us to constantly learn new technology and skills. The best corporate career move I ever made was staying bleary eyed after work two nights a week from 6 to 10 PM. I did this for several months to take preparation classes for a Project Management Institute certification. My company paid for this training and even part of the fee.

Gaining additional perspective is another benefit listed by Thinking about things in different ways helps us understand different people and their perspective. For years I went to a free movie series on Indigenous people. It was taught by a Native American who was a former college professor. Now my church is offering a book study group on this topic. I also participated in a Me and White Supremacy book study group to learn new perspectives.

Quoting the website another and I think the most important benefit is “An enriched life. Learning will help you lead a more fulfilling and multidimensional life for longer. Research shows that the more you learn, the greater your cognitive abilities will be as you age. Being a lifelong learner will help prevent age-related memory loss, lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, and equip you to face new challenges as you age.” My grandmother was a prime example of this. She took over 40 community educations classes. A brain scan she had at 89 show a 60 year old brain per her doctor. He said it was good genes, however I’m sure her life long learner attitude also contributed.

I mentioned in another posting, due to losing income from the shutdowns I was able to get some free college courses. This was through Coursera and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. After Positive Psychology from the University of North Carolina I took Exercise Science from the University of Colorado, four courses for a certificate on memoir writing from Wesleyan University and a class on Feminism and Social Justice from the University of California. So many great classes were online before and there are even more now.

Here are some ideas if you want to learn more. Check community education not just your own city but those around you. Organizations like the Swedish Institute, Minnesota History Center and Art Institutes offer lectures and sometimes longer classes. Gardening groups often offer classes. Regional parks offer classes often with a nature theme. Here is a recent article on FREE classes from Princeton, Harvard and Yale