The value of adult learning

Whether you loved or hated your time at school, chances are at least something learned there has helped you out in adult life. But why leave it there? I chose to move onto college and then to university, and yet I still haven’t even begun to exhaust the massive expanse of new potential knowledge out there. Learning to drive, for example, has been one of these tiny educational steps towards a more developed self.

I’m writing this now because I’ve started a distance learning course in digital marketing today, and just completed the introductory module – and honestly, it’s not only already been very insightful but also fascinating. It’s a topic I already have a basic grasp of because of the nature of my profession, but it is still making me aware of additional tools and techniques I maybe haven’t thought about in the past. It’s not something I have to dedicate years to and I can do as much or as little as I like at any one time, and yet I’m still learning new skills that I can use in the future.

My degree has helped me, don’t get me wrong, but there are other things that I wish I’d done instead, other industries which also interest me and would possibly lead to a completely different lifestyle. That’s where this kind of new learning comes in. Because really, you don’t actually find out who you are certainly through to your mid-twenties and possibly even thirties and beyond. If you think you’ll have it all figured out by the time you’re twenty, sadly, you’re probably wrong – but that doesn’t matter. There is still time to get where you want to be.

Your growth in knowledge doesn’t have to end with school, not by a long stretch. In fact, you learn new things about life and work and everything in-between on a daily basis already without even realising it, and I think that even among the most defiant individuals, a thirst for developing a particular skill or talent is always there. It might be something academic that will help you pursue a career, or it might even be the need to learn to change a wheel on a vehicle, a need to produce a recipe that you’ve never cooked before, a need to learn to operate a camera. My auntie didn’t publish her first novel until a few years ago, but the point is she did do it.

No matter how big or small, we’re always learning and needing to learn, and that’s one of the many beauties of the human being as a species – our awareness of personal development. If there’s something you always wanted to do but never learned growing up, there are always ways of doing it, whether that means taking on a course or following YouTube tutorials, or even just winging it with trial and error. I cannot overstate the need to keep learning enough.

We have such a different outlook and attitude to studying as adults, and learning how to cook or sew or ride a horse or play a musical instrument could be the only thing standing in the way of us and our ultimate dreams. Sure, doing it at an early age has its advantages, but for many of us, it’s already too late for that, so just pick yourself up and just do it anyway – if it will help you in the long run, the cost (whether money, time or countless mistakes) is worth it.

After all, the more we can do the more we can impress and the more fulfilled we can feel.

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