Many of you probably anticipated the end of college for the sole reason that you wouldn’t have to write papers, study or take exams anymore. In your early twenties, when many graduates reach the end of their educational careers, you’re more focused on figuring out your career path and making money.
It’s easy to think you don’t need to learn anymore. After all, you’ve been going to school for over fifteen years. Don’t you already know enough?
It happens in phases for many people. Many new graduates have the mindset above because they feel burnt out, but after a few years in the real world, you may suddenly enjoy learning again. You may actually begin to crave it because your mind needs knowledge to run, much like a car needs oil.
You may find yourself at a bookstore, seeking out books about buying a home, aligning your finances, psychology or some other topic you’re interested in. In fact, you’ll see many young adults and older adults in bookstores scouring the shelves for more. It’s a hunger that doesn’t always hit right away. It can take years of realizing you want that more.
However, it’s crucial for college graduates to understand the importance of lifelong learning, even after they’ve left the classroom and entered into the real world. Read on for five reasons why college graduates shouldn’t stop learning after college.
You Will Become the Best Person You Can Be
With a mindset of lifelong learning, you will become the best person you can be in all aspects of your life. Whether you’re interested in furthering your education, learning about a new skill or topic or simply teaching yourself more about your current career, you’re becoming a better and more well-versed person in the process.
You’ve heard someone in your life explain to you the importance of being well-rounded. To be well-rounded, you need to learn new things and advance your knowledge of the world around you.
It’s So Simple
No one can use the excuse of inconvenience when it comes to continued learning. Nowadays you can listen to podcasts on your commute, join a local board or organization where you can volunteer and help people, take online or evening classes, attend local lectures and readings at bookstores, explore your online resources like blogs and webinars, and even subscribe to a daily newsletter about something of interest to you.
There are so many convenient ways in which you can expand your knowledge, even if you have a hectic day-to-day life and don’t feel like you have the time. Now that you know you have so many resources at your fingertips, it’s time for you to make an effort and use them.
Make More Money
It’s not rocket science that the more you know, the more you can do, which can lead to a more advanced career. More money comes with that advanced career, and who can say no to free money? A study from Northeastern University shows that an advanced degree or certificate can increase your lifetime earnings by 35% more than if you just had a bachelor’s degree.
It’s simple. When you learn new skills, you will create new career opportunities for yourself – some of which will come with higher pay. Also, with a higher degree, you have more power when it comes to negotiating salary because you have a broader set of skills to bargain with.
Develop a New Career
Many college graduates aren’t sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives. In fact, many grown adults aren’t even sure. If you are one of these people, now is the best time for you to continue learning about the things you are interested in. If you have an interest in social work or real estate development, go out and find materials you can read and study, so you can learn more about potential careers that incorporate these interests.
Don’t settle for a job you don’t like. Sure you may need to take whatever you can get right out of college to pay your bills and get on your feet, but don’t stop learning and exploring other opportunities during this time. If you know of a career you’re interested in or a company you want to be a part of, seek out internships once you learn a basis of that company and role you’re interested in.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
It’s important to keep your mind active, especially for older adults because they’re less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and other similar illnesses. There’s no negative to keeping your mind sharp at any age. In fact, it can only lead to a healthier and longer life. You’ll think better and be more on top of your game for longer.
An unused mind can become weak, and in turn have a harder time focusing and getting things done. You were given a very powerful tool to use in life, so keep it polished, and give it the maintenance it needs to work efficiently. Learning a new skill can actually defer cognitive aging by a couple of years, so learn as many new skills as you can throughout your lifetime.
Embrace lifelong learning because you will evolve over time, and with that, so will your interests. Feed those interests, and continue learning no matter where you are in life. It can only broaden your horizons and teach you things you never would never have thought you’d learn. Some of these things may become a new hobby or a new career path for you.
Some of the most influential people of our time prove that lifelong learning leads to success. Walt Disney taught himself to draw, Walt Whitman taught himself to write and self-publish, and Benjamin Franklin learned to work with others so he could understand his interests like Italian and Meteorology.
Continue to challenge yourself with new knowledge and skills to improve your career, achieve personal goals, keep your mind sharp and so much more. It’s certainly a waste to not take advantage of the many useful resources available to you.
Find convenient ways to continue learning in your life. Whether that’s by listening to podcasts during your commute, taking night classes or reading books on topics of interest, you’ll be thankful you made the effort.