Why we should never stop going to “school”

Written by: on Friday, March 18th, 2011
school, adult learning, going back to school

Learning new stuff every day keeps us on our toes...and keeps us engaged in life.

I really, really thought that when I finished my Masters degree in journalism, that I was done with school: I was finished—for good! I had no desire to go back and wanted to be paid for my work from now on. (Many long hard years at school with no money can sometimes do that to you…)

And I pretty much followed that philosophy for 14 years until just recently when I left Shape as the editor in chief. I finally had time—and so I signed up for digital classes at NYU. And it’s now that I’m realizing why putting off the idea of “school” was a big mistake…

I’m in one class all about web design—and many times I’m completely lost and often can’t finish my homework because I can’t figure out what the heck I did wrong in the html coding to screw everything up! (For someone who has worked hard to master my knowledge and career, this is a bit of a humbling experience.) I’m in another class all about social media…and there’s so much information that my brain is on overload and I feel like I can’t absorb it all!

But I’m LOVING every minute of it. Why? Because I’m forcing my brain to look at things differently…outside my comfort zone. And it’s really invigorating. As I said to someone recently: we should never stop trying new things or taking classes— be it a community class about finances, an intro to wine class, an intro to yoga class or a class about web design. It keeps us fresh, keeps our mind engaged, and keeps us meeting new interesting people—outside our daily lives.

Many friends I’ve talked to recently have said: “Oh, I’d love to go back to school.” So my answer to anyone who says that is this: start small; sign up for one class (even if it’s a one-night class) and then go from there. You don’t need to be in a program at a university. Just doing something outside the daily grind will keep you continually excited about—and engaged—in life.  Now, back to my homework…