When Does Learning Finally Stop?
When I was just about finished with high school, I was excited about the future but also a little bit grateful that I was almost done. The books, teachers, homework, deadlines: they all represented what I did not want out of my life. I assumed that I would get a job and work my way up the ladder based on my abilities.
My parents convinced me that a college education was what I needed to get ahead and, after a lot of discussion and “persuasion,” I went off to an institution of higher education. I got more books, teachers, homework, and deadlines. I cannot begin to recall the number of times that I wanted to quit.
But a friend of mine told me about something that was not in the books or from teachers. He directed me toward a yet-unknown word: investment. My father always talked about investments in terms of dollars and cents, but this friend of mine was talking about investment in terms of something yet unknown to me: the future. But who thinks about the future when they are twenty? At twenty years old, you are all-knowing and invincible.
"Who thinks about the future when they are twenty?"
I made it through college and got my first job. I was proud and felt that getting a steady paycheck was my key to sitting back and enjoying the good life. After all, there were no more books, teachers, homework, or deadlines. But at work I soon found that there were substitutes for those familiar things. There were new books, bosses, work to do at home, and well, deadlines.
I think you get the picture. My education got me in the door, but to stay there or rise up the chain, I had to prove myself each and every day. At the time the world was changing and there was this new word buzzing around: technology. I found myself starting to learn all over again about new trends, new ideas, and that exciting word from long ago—the future.
I began to embrace the idea of learning as more than books and teachers and work done at home. I actually started reading books for fun. I was taking on projects because they were challenging and I was feeling good about it. I was “investing!”
"I began to embrace the idea of learning as more than books and teachers and work done at home."
Like me, your future may hold a master’s degree, which I did not even attempt until I hit my later years. And when I received my degree, I reflected on that eighteen-year-old kid who thought that high school was the end of learning.
Here are just a few hints about how you, too, can make a difference in your own life without even thinking about it.
If you are enrolled in courses, go to every class. Speak up. A lot. Share your ideas, your experiences, and your thoughts with the instructor and the students around you. Don’t be shy.
Learning is not always at the whiteboard or in a textbook. It is also in the midst of a conversation with your peers. Stevens-Henager College has something that a lot of other learning institutions may not and that is diversity in our ages, levels of experience, and our personal lives. What a fantastic way to learn.
If you are enrolled in online classes, embrace the technology and get involved in the discussion with your instructor and your peers. Take it from me, instructors are here because they love to teach, share, and interact with others. I enjoy getting involved with students and they, in turn, enjoy sharing their lives.
Learning starts when we let it. Learning stops when we choose to stop. There is something new in each day. You just may not realize it. Now, turn off the computer and go have a learning experience.