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5 Ways To Keep Learning After College

5 Ways To Keep Learning After College
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“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” — Henry Ford

As children, we just couldn’t stop showering our parents, our teachers, and our friends with streams of questions. Curiosity seems to be instilled in us right from birth. However, as we grow older, this inherent sense of inquisition starts to fade away. This is most evident in students who have just graduated from college.

We are curious by nature and there is a little voracious child within us which thrives on as much knowledge as we can get. College is an important place in the knowledge cycle and not the end of it. You can still do many things to keep your journey for knowledge on track.

Below are five effective ways to keep learning after you complete your college education.

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1. Learning A Foreign Language

You always wished to learn another language but something was holding you back. The completion of college studies opens the right doorway for learning the language you’ve always desired.

Learning a second language has social, economic, and mental benefits. It helps to improve memory and make our minds keener.

Try out apps and websites like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Busuu, etc. These are fun ways to study and you can earn points for new phrases you learn. You also can race against your friends. Of course, this requires practice, patience, and perseverance.

2. Building Your Vocabulary

According to recent research, people who have superior vocabularies have superior IQs. And, why not? In fact, words are mere representation of ideas. The more words you have on your side, the more ideas you can express with ease.

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Vocabulary building is not easy at the beginning but if you keep practicing, your word arsenal will certainly become lethal with time. There are plenty of powerful tools available on the Internet to help you learn for free.

Vocabinuse is one of these tools. It features an advanced flashcard-based learning system driven by example sentences taken from world’s top newspapers to help people remember new words in context. It is a must-use tool for those who are prepping for standardized tests like GRE, SAT, ACT, and TOEFL.

Furthermore, there’s a morphology section which breaks down words into root, prefix, and suffix helping you learn the meanings of a lot of similar words in no time.

3. Taking Free Online Courses

Ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of the person sitting next to you on the bus? Take a psychology crash course. Always wanted to improve your public speaking? There’s a course for you. Online courses provide you with a more comfortable learning environment and flexibility in planning your study time. In this regard, online courses can be better than a traditional face-to-face education.

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Coursera and edX are among many sites that offer online courses for free, anytime, anywhere. Topics range from social sciences, arts, and writing to artificial intelligence, data science, and programming. You can even earn verified IT certificates from such sites if you complete all of the assignments given to you.

4. Starting A Business

“The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration.” — Eric Ries

Entrepreneurship is a life skill. When college is over, you can create a lot of time for yourself and make a business around an idea you’ve always thought would work.

Being an entrepreneur helps you learn a lot of things, like team management, time management, public speaking, and so on.

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Start a business around what you’ve always loved to do, whether it be freelance writing or a tech startup or painting, and you’ll never be devoid of new things to learn. However, blindly quitting your job because you can’t stand your boss and would rather start a business does not always work.

Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup teaches how to get products and services into customers’ hands faster. He explains a scientific approach and a Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop, citing how quickly reacting to customers’ feedback can make a business boom.

5. Learning To Play An Instrument

Playing an instrument is a productive way to unplug yourself from your hectic daily life. Whether you strum a guitar or play keys, it has significant mental, emotional, social, and physical benefits.

There are lots of channels on YouTube dedicated to helping you learn to play an instrument. What’s your favorite genre? Classical, Blues, Rock, Jazz — you name it. You can choose from thousands of videos. If you ask me, my personal favorite are Justin Sandercoe’s free Blues Lessons.

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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