Once college is over, and you’re in the workplace, it’s so easy to get caught up in your career and not have time for anything else. That includes continuing your education.
Education isn’t just for school – the real idea of school is to give you basic knowledge and equip you to be a lifelong learner. That lifelong part can be pretty hard.
I loved my undergrad years of college. It was amazing to have my primary responsibility to be gaining knowledge and then writing about it and discussing it. Plus, I had finally earned the freedom to choose my own classes and make my own schedule. It. Was. Awesome.
Fast forward to career: Get up early, go to work, work all day, go home, catch up on grading and lesson planing, housework, exercise, and maybe spend some time with family once in a while. How am I supposed to devote time to my own education?
I’ve tried a few things that don’t really work. I tried learning Spanish, and convinced my husband to buy Fluenz (a computer program like Rosetta Stone) for me. I was really good about using it every day for a few months. Haven’t touched it since, much to the chagrin of my husband.
I’ve also tried out various websites, like the word games on Dictionary.com. I don’t use sites you have to have a subscription for, like Lumosity. There’s lots of great little brain training and trivia games for iPhones and iPads and the like. These are fun, and useful in their own way, but are limited in their knowledge building capabilities.
Really, the best way that I’ve found to continue my education is through reading. I go to the library frequently when my schedule permits, as this makes available to me many books I wouldn’t have thought of reading or would want to buy. Though, thanks to Amazon, I can buy many more books than I would be able to afford at a bookstore.
As for genres, I find a good mix is the most desirable. I’d like to say I read weighty stuff like Plato, Shakespeare, and Steinbeck all the time, and, while I do read those things (though not the Steinbeck), I alternate them with the light stuff, or “candy” as I like to call it: books that I read just for fun.
Want to get through War and Peace? Go for it – but reward yourself after you finish with something you’re really going to enjoy.
Okay, now that you have all these great books, how do you find time to read them? Time is one of the reasons I prefer to buy books – I can read them at my own pace and not worry about returning them on time.
The number one way to find time to read: bring a book everywhere. Any time you have a few minutes to read, get that book out and read. Places like the DMV are great to get in some reading time.
I was inspired to do this by a friend in high school my senior year. We were both in AP English, and the workload was really intense. The only books I was reading were required ones. One day, while we were sitting in the hallway waiting for class, I saw him reading The Fellowship of the Rings. I asked him incredulously, “how do you find time to read for fun?” His response: “I always have something I’m reading for fun.”
Make a goal for how many books you want to read this year. Mine this year is 30. Last year it was 60 (I made it with 61), but this year I want to focus more on those really tough, weighty books with important sounding titles.
What’s your reading goal this year? Share in the comments below!