Monday, October 28, 2013

Steps to self-education. Part 1

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I have been out of school far longer than I care to admit but one thing I miss most about those days is the easily accessible source of knowledge I was given. I didn't really pursue a higher education (ie: college, university) as it was much too expensive to go into without a set goal in mind. I didn't want to gather a degree for a career; I wanted to learn, to explore, to open myself to new ideas and discoveries.

Which is basically what this post is about - taking knowledge into your own hands. There are so many different ways I gather information on my interests and maybe you can take one of these away to use yourself. Always be curious. Always learn. Teach yourself if others cannot. The moment you stop, you waste away. Your very being exists to grow and gain experiences and knowledge. Don't waste that!

Read books that interest you.
This is the non-fiction sort, of course. When I was 16 I stumbled across Tudor England. You know, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. And to this day, I still have such a strong passion to read everything I can about this period of English history. What interests you? A particular time in history maybe? Feudal Japan? Ancient Egypt? Colonial America? Or perhaps it’s more in the science area! You can find anything about subjects ranging from Forestry to Astronomy to Psychology. Take a day to visit your local library and browse the aisles until something catches your eye.

Watch documentaries.
This is an easy one! You can find such a range of topics on Netflix or even YouTube. I recently watched Pompeii - The Last Day and Happy. Animals, earth, emotions, culture, society... you can find a documentary on probably anything you might be curious about. And this would be a great place to start, especially if you aren't a reader by choice.

A puzzle a day.
There are so many apps you can download for your tablet or smart phone. As I posted just recently, I play a lot of word games. This helps my vocabulary. Every day I come across a new word and I like to find the definition of that word so I can challenge myself to use it in a sentence. Sudoku, word finds, hidden objects, tangrams... anything that keeps your mind active and on the ball helps you in the long run. There have been studies about this!

Learn a new word.
Open a dictionary and find a word you aren't familiar with, then challenge yourself to use it at some point in the day. I have a horrid memory so I often can't retain all of these words as I don't use them often enough but the simple action of this ritual opens new ideas and ways to think. And I do remember quite a few of them! It gives me pride to know I taught myself something as simple as a single word!

Talk radio.
Ok. This can be a boring option for some people. I know quite a few that have confessed to talk radio making them sleepy. But I love it! I now have the habit of listening to NPR on the drive to and from work. Sure, they give regular updates to the daily news but many of the programs they offer are very educational! I especially love Science Friday and StoryCorps. This summer I listened to the NPR Cities Project. It really opened my eyes (and ears) to things I never took account of!!

These are just a sample of ways you can grow your brain! There are many more ideas that I use for self-education. Which I will have to make a follow-up post about! I’m excited just for writing these down. Yay for learning! 

Do you have any habits of self-knowledge? Share them in the comments below! I love to find new ways I can open myself to knowledge.

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