Raise your hand if you like(d) school? No? Neither did I. Now, my parents might beg to differ because I excelled but I did not in fact enjoy school, what I did enjoy, was learning new things (I was also a perfectionist that was obsessed with straight A’s and winning student of the month, but that’s an entirely different topic for another time) and there is a HUGE difference between the two.
As an adult, I find myself with a certain yearning to go back to school. Why on earth, would I want to electively do something, that I don’t enjoy, if I don’t have to? Isn’t adult life already filled with enough things that you have to do against your will? I discovered that what I really needed, was to expand my knowledge, and learn something new, but on my terms. When I attended college, it took me years to obtain my AA degree, and once I transferred to get my bachelors, I only lasted for a semester and a half before deciding that maybe college wasn’t for me. So here I am, not wanting to go to school, yet wanting to learn something new and something that I could use in my daily life. I decided that I wasn’t going to force anything, that I would let opportunities to learn, come to me. Once I stopped obsessing over it, I slowly started to realize that there are countless opportunities to learn, they just might not be traditional and you might not earn a degree from them. I had been so jaded in my thinking that the end goal had to be a degree, that would make sense and make you earn additional money, that I had missed the entire point of what learning is really for. Our brain is a muscle, and needs to be challenged and “worked out” to stay in shape. If we do not expose ourselves to anything that stimulates our brain, we will eventually get bored and boredom leads to ruts, depression, etc. I realized that the term ‘studying’ had a negative connation associated with it, but it really shouldn’t. Studying doesn’t have to be linked to taking some test, that sends our anxiety into overdrive, it can simply be reading about a topic that you would like to know more about! Taking a class doesn’t have to end with a stressful exam, you can find a class at your local community college or community center about anything from learning how to meditate to learning how to bake a pie.
I am in no way discounting a traditional college education, I am simply encouraging you to not feel like learning is out reach. I know that going back to school can be intimidating. Its important to remember there are many other avenues to take, in order to exercise your brain and get the fulfillment that you need. For example, I love yoga, and I wanted to gain knowledge and understanding about the practice, so I researched and took notes on different poses, the origin, and how it has impacted peoples lives in a positive way. That was my studying for that day. I am also extremely interested in mental health, so I bought a few books and plan to make time to “study” those on a weekly basis, and journal about what I learn from them.
Our brains are amazing, unique and complex! So, if you are getting that urge to expand your knowledge, learn something new, or brush up on an old hobby or topic you once loved, do it! Register for that class, sign up for that workshop, read that book! Your brain will thank you.