Learning is a life-long pursuit and chances are, at one point or another, you’re going to sign up for some program of study in your adult life. You may be working on a degree, certificate, training program, leadership/management program, new job training, or even just taking up a hobby. The task of undergoing schooling so many years after you completed your last phase of education can be daunting. Yet, it’s a challenge worth taking on.
I recently began my study towards becoming a Flight Instructor. I have a Pilot’s License and now I’m ready to challenge myself and my skills as a pilot by working towards that higher rating. There is a tremendous amount of study required, multiple written tests, multiple oral tests, and multiple flight tests. It’s no easy task, and rightfully so. As I sat down to gather the resources to begin study, I felt overwhelmed.
Many adults go back to school decades after their last formal education, and for me, I’ve only been out for six years. I still feel the pressure of relearning good study habits and even am feeling a bit of test anxiety. My choice to pursue this study was totally voluntary, meaning that I chose this pain. Learning new skills and expanding your knowledge is always worth the pain.
We’ve created a system in the United States that tells us that learning happens in the classroom; if you’re not in a classroom, you aren’t learning. That is a destructive worldview because it discounts the multitude of learning opportunities. Exploring your neighborhood, going to a zoo, going to a museum, listening to a lecture, and even reading a book are a few of these opportunities. You can literally learn anything you want from books and so, by being an avid reader, you are increasing your intelligence. In fact, when boiled down, university study is essentially reading with guided discussion and testing.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste. Be intentional about expanding your horizons and engaging in educational pursuits, formal or otherwise. Challenge yourself and be a role model to your children. Show them that learning never stops and that it is always worthwhile.