"It made me gladsome to be getting some education, it being like a big window opening."
-Mary Webb, Precious Bane (1924)
I´m still on the learning bandwagon . . . Here are some things to ask yourself as you consider ways to augment any training that you might be getting on the job–
1. Do I learn something new every day?
2. In what three areas would I like to expand my knowledge?
3. As a child, did I enjoy school?
4. What is my favorite school memory?
5. Do I still have teachers who make a difference in my life?
6. What would I study if I were to go back to school?
7. Are my mistakes an opportunity to learn?
If you´re like most people you couldn´t wait to get out of school and into the "real" world where you could be your own boss, use four-letter words with impunity and stay up past midnight. Yet even the real world can make you restless, especially when your mind and body ache for spring breaks and summer vacations. We can´t go back in time, but we can immerse ourselves into environments that stimulate our intellects.
Staying in school isn´t about becoming a professional student. Rather it´s about expanding your knowledge both horizontally and vertically. You may finish a course or complete a degree, but you´re never done with learning. You´re never going to know everything, so why not be open to broadening your base? If we wish and dream with a finite set of assets, we limit our potential by basing what we know on a mere snapshot versus an ever-evolving image. What might have been fresh two weeks ago could be stale within a month. This is especially true in the business world where technology and economics converge daily to effect change in every sector.
Staying in school is, at the very least, an attitude. It´s accepting the notion that each day we can soak up new experiences that can enhance our journeys. But it´s more than merely accumulating an encyclopedic sort of knowledge. If you´re simply picking up facts and statistics without mulling them over and discovering where they fit into your own life, you´re not going to get closer to your goal. For example, if you read the technology section of the newspaper, think about how a new technology will affect industries that you work with or want to work with. Or instead of waiting until you´ve completed an eight-week workshop take the knowledge you get on the first night back to your office and apply it the next day.
It doesn´t take much, though, to stay in school every single day. I´m not suggesting that you never skip class, but while you´re playing hooky-whether you´re at the movies or driving downtown for a day in the city-take it all in from a student´s point of view. You won´t be tested, at least in the conventional sense, so relax and enjoy.
Next time: more about how to "stay in school"