How to be a Lifelong Learner

Growing up, my grandpa always told me how he was a lifelong learner. He would tell me stories of things he had learned and of things he was currently learning. He always took an interest in my education, asking me questions about what I was learning and how I enjoyed it. I always thought he was cool (maybe I was a nerd, what are you gonna do about it?)

I remember watching the History Channel with him. I wasn’t like most young boys who were obsessed with sports and the like; I truly enjoyed watching one of the most boring TV channels in history, (see what I did there?), and I was proud of it, and I still am. There’s something really refreshing about learning.

I graduate college this May, but I plan to continue my learning. When my grandpa passed away last May, I decided that my being a lifelong learner would be dedicated to him.

There are many things I plan to do to always be learning. Here are a few of them:

I plan to…

Listen

When people are speaking to me, I will try my best to listen, with undivided attention, to their every word. I know I will fail, but that’s no reason to lower the bar. I will always strive to be better.

I saw a TED video of a man who gave up speaking for 17 years. He learned a lot from actually listening to people, rather than formulating an answer before the other had finished speaking. Which brings me to my next point.

Watch TED videos

I receive notifications when new TED videos are uploaded that are relevant to my interests. This is a very easy way to learn about a lot of different subjects.

Read (a lot)

I know, during college it is very difficult to read anything, besides textbooks, (if one can even manage that). But, reading is a very good way to increase your knowledge and expand your horizons. Good places to start would be physical books, e-books, online articles and journals, and, yes, even the dictionary.

Research

I always think of interesting topics that I’d like to know more about; things that, currently, will take away from my study time. Well, I plan on actually researching these things after graduation…When I have the time.

If I feel extra nerdy, I might even write a research paper, just for fun.

Keep a list of new words

Throughout my last semesters at UW-Whitewater, I have kept a list of new words and their definitions in my notebook. As I enter the professional world, I plan on continuing this practice. Expanding your vocabulary improves communication and reasoning, and can lead to a more successful life.

Attend workshops/take classes

There are all kinds of workshops and classes out there just waiting for you! Why not learn how to reupholster furniture? Or, make jewelry? Or, do yoga? Or, improve your creative writing skills? Your life will be enhanced, I promise.

Visit museums

I absolutely love visiting museums and learning about history. After all, history is our story.

But, maybe history isn’t your cup of tea? Well, you would benefit greatly from making it something you love. You can research ways to make it fun and interesting, I’m sure there are lots of ways!

Watch live performances

Whether you go to an opera, ballet, symphony, musical, play, local open mic, etc., you will have an experience unlike any other. Live performances are a great way to experience art, but are sadly dying out. Support local musicians, and the arts in general; attend live shows!

Take it all in, see what you learn along the way!

Please comment below if you are a lifelong learner. Let me know what you do to self-educate.

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Author: benhanus

I'm a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduating in May, 2017 with a degree in Marketing. I'm pursuing a career in marketing or finance. I'm engaged to be married after graduation to the love of my life. I enjoy music, photography, food, traveling, and spending time with my friends and family.

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