How to keep learning even when you're not a student

by Erika Osurman
How to keep learning even when you

I graduated college 10 years ago (time flies by so quickly!) and I have to admit, I do sometimes miss the classroom environment and the intensity with which I was learning. I definitely haven’t kept that up since - and any kind of formal learning has been sporadic and random. But making education part of your life - even when you’re not a student - is only beneficial for every other aspect of your life. Whether it improves your skills at work, your self-awareness in your relationships, your empathy for others, or ups your trivia game...there’s really no down side to setting aside time to learn! And I’m definitely the first to admit it’s not always so easy to get started. So here’s a few tips and 5 easy ways to incorporate education back into your life.

Before getting started, make a list of things that you’re interested in that you’ve always wanted to learn, or things that would be applicable to make a difference in your life right now. Next, consider the way you learn best. Are you a visual learner? Or maybe you do best by reading? Listening? Talking it out? Keep that in mind and set yourself to succeed by playing to your goals and strengths.

listen to podcasts

There are SO many podcasts out there on pretty much any topic you could imagine. If you’re interested in it, there probably a podcast. Listen Notes is a great podcast search engine to help you find what you’re looking for. The hard part is setting aside time to listen - so start by adding it in during tasks you’re already doing, like folding laundry, cooking, or commuting.

be selective in your media consumption

A couple years ago I realized that nearly all the accounts I was following on Instagram were people I knew or brands. And while I’m all for supporting small brands by following and commenting, I realized that many of these accounts really didn’t even resonate with me. So I cleaned out my accounts and began searching for educational accounts - or at least accounts managed by people whose lives and perspectives were different from my own with plenty for me to learn. Consider who you’re following and consider clearing out the clutter and adding in accounts that will add value to your life. The same goes for other media you consume - like Netflix. Maybe once a week you can replace your favorite sitcom with a documentary that’s been on your list. Work it in when you already have time set aside to watch and relax!

read every day

I really love to read and it’s something I have missed so much since having children. It is so easy to feel like there is never enough time in the day. But setting aside a few minutes in the morning or evening to just read an article or a few pages of a book has made a huge difference for me and helped me feel like I was exercising my brain.

try a new recipe

Learning new things isn’t always about information. It can be experiences too! And food is such an important part of pretty much every person and culture, so it’s a great place to start learning and trying new things. You could search for a new recipe online, try one of those recipe subscription boxes, or ask around for your friends’ and family members’ favorite dishes. Experiencing new foods, flavors, and challenging yourself to new techniques when cooking can be so rewarding and help you feel adventurous in other aspects of life.

start a conversation

Open a dialogue with a friend (IRL or on the net) or with someone new. Focus on talking about ideas, not people. You might find someone you know has a wealth of information about something you’ve always been interested in (or something completely random). You might discover a new perspective you’ve never considered before or find new connections that enrich your life.

Have you tried any of these tips? How do you prioritize learning? Tell us more in the comments below or on Instagram.

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