In college, it’s common to take four or five courses per semester or term. Whether the classes we choose are all in accounting or a mix of French, oil painting, and calculus, we’re in pursuit of knowledge. We bounce from classroom to classroom, absorbing new material and completing unique assignments. We listen to peers and professors express their opinions, expanding our minds. Then we graduate.
The entry-level working world can be a far cry from the intellectually stimulating college years of the past. While many organizations offer varied work, training opportunities, tuition reimbursement, and mentorship programs, others bring the term “daily grind” to life. If you’re dealing with the latter, or simply want to keep your wheels turning, consider these methods of learning outside of the classroom:
1. READ Twilight may provide you with hours of escape, but why not pick up a non-fiction book on a topic you find interesting or wish you had explored in college? It needn’t be on the geology of ancient Mayan ruins or the battles of the Civil War (unless you’re into that)—you can get academic or informative without getting boring. Like shopping? Check out Why We Buy by Paco Underhill for insight into retail marketing and consumer segmentation. Miss your urban sociology courses? Pick up Cracks in the Pavement by Martín Sánchez-Jankowski, who spends time in three public housing projects and presents data-backed hypotheses on the culture of the projects.
2. ATTEND LECTURES Every major city (and many small towns) boast speaker series, one-shot lectures, and readings by authors, all of which can be inspiring, informative, and, well, cheap. Hell, you can even watch TED Talks, conferences composed of talks by the movers and the shakers of the world, online. To find events, check out your local library’s listings, area event guides, and the weekend edition of the newspaper. And don’t discount the power of a simple online search.
3. TAKE A CLASS Like to cook? Always wanted to draw nudes? Courses don’t have to take place in a traditional classroom. Local colleges and community centers offer daylong workshops or even semester-long not-for-credit enrichment courses. Hone those skills, or pick up new ones.