After spending the first 20 plus years of our lives in a classroom, the idea of going back to school as an adult can hold very little appeal – especially for those of us with demanding jobs and families to support. Contrary to what you may believe, however, continuing your education can be beneficial not only to your career, but to your mental health and family life. And given the explosion of online courses and educational technology in recent years, learning has never been easier or more accessible. Here are five great reasons to continue your education no matter how old you are.
- Youll stay sharp. Not only does challenging your brain make you smarter, it helps fight off dementia and other types of brain deterioration. And by regularly exposing yourself to new ideas, youll rekindle your imagination and creativity. Dont be surprised if your mood improves, too.
- Youll broaden your horizons. Studying philosophy, foreign languages, and history are just a few examples of how learning can literally reshape the way you look at the world. By learning about topics that we dont understand, we lose our innate fear of the unknown and become open to new ideas, concepts and cultures. We also become more accepting of our fellow human beings.
- Youll learn new skills – and advance your career. Office politics aside, nothing will help you land a promotion – or a career change – more than an ever-expanding set of job skills. Regardless of your field, courses in sales, management or IT can drastically improve your efficiency and work record. Instead of being intimidated by new technology, take a webinar on a particular type of software that may be giving you trouble. Tons are available online, and some are even free.
- Youll set a good example for your kids. When your children see you making an effort to learn, theyll be more inclined to apply themselves to their own studies. And by educating yourself, youll be in a better position to pass on valuable new skills and ideas to them – not to mention helping them with their homework!
- Youll have fun. Continuing your education doesnt have to be work-related. Whether its speaking another language, playing a musical instrument, or cooking like a gourmet chef, most of us have something that weve always wanted to learn how to do. Learning a new skill purely for the enjoyment of it is a great way to make your dreams come true – and have fun while youre at it. It can also provide a welcome break from your daily work routine, and even relieve stress.
Not sure where to start? Put together a list of all colleges, community colleges and universities in your area, and contact them about their adult education programs. You can also investigate sites like Kaplan for online and campus-based course offerings or Khan Academy for a series of free online micro lectures on a variety of subjects.