Yearning to Learn: 6 Reasons to Reconnect with College

BY: ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2011

Whether we’re aware of it or not, that thing we call education doesn’t stop with a high school diploma or even a college degree. With the exception of the occasional “know-it-all”, who has “been there” and done everything, we are all still negotiating the learning curve of life. Fortunately, for those who are actively looking to grow professionally, personally, socially, culturally and even creatively through the learning process, many opportunities await within the walls of the nearest community college. Being that the idea of stepping onto a college campus after years or even decades of absence can be a bit daunting, here are 6 smart reasons for reconnecting with college which should help make the process less painful.

1. Life Enrichment and Social Interaction: At times in this journey called life we hit plateaus, times when we’re not growing and developing in the areas of life that could bring us great enjoyment. When we arrive at these moments we can either ignore them or find new ways to challenge ourselves. Maybe we’ve always wanted to play chess well, or take a cooking class because we like to cook. Or maybe we think it would be nice to meet like-minded people in the safe non-threatening atmosphere of a supervised classroom course such as dancing or painting or pottery. Non credit community college courses are a great way to pursue new interests as well as to get to know other people who at least have something in common. Costing very little money for what you can get out of them and usually lasting only a few weeks or so, non credit courses offer very little risk and can yield great benefits. At the very least you learn a new skill that you find enjoyable and hopefully have a new friend who shares, not only that skill but your desire to live life actively and in the real world.

2. Health and Wellness: Few would argue that living well includes living healthy, and college classes addressing the subjects of nutrition, diet and proper exercise are a great way to adopt healthy habits with the built-in support of fellow classmates. From learning proper exercise techniques to prevent needless pain and injury, to Yoga and meditative workouts for mind body and soul, to actual “field” classes where you can canoe on a local body of water—non-credit courses are a great way to help you commit to get fit.

3. Financial Benefits: Regardless of how well we handle our personal assets, life is not above throwing us curves now and then that cause us to get off the path of financial growth and security we had hoped to stay on. Faced with the need to adopt new strategies to get our finances back under control, one of the best return on investment decisions you can make is to take a course that addresses your particular needs and concerns. From creating and sticking to a budget, to learning wise investment strategies, to saving money by learning how to prepare your own legally binding documents, such as Wills, Living Trusts and Power of Attorney documents, college courses offer many options in these areas and the classes are often flexible enough to schedule at times that fit with your already busy schedules. Parents of teenagers can do the family a huge favor by enrolling themselves and their children in courses that discuss the various ways that families can work together to be able to meet the ever rising costs of a college education.

4. Transitional Assistance: Although we would like to think otherwise, we will all be challenged with life-altering events that will necessitate sudden changes, transitions, or full-blown upheavals in our lives. Divorce, or the death of a spouse or close family member are the most extreme examples of such events. Others include job loss or even job promotion, for they may both require sudden relocations and a departure from the normal everyday lives we’ve grown accustomed to. People suddenly alone, playing Solitaire after years of Bridge, seem to share two things in common. The first involves a period of quiet, a time to grieve, to say goodbye to the lives they once knew and loved so well. The second is the stage of reemergence, where they once again desire to reconnect with people and the passions that once burned within them. Although cocooned they want to be butterflies. Non credit college classes have been shown to be a very effective means for people who have gone through life-changing transitions to regain social relationships, again in a safe non-threatening manner. For many of these people the news, both good and bad, is that they’ve got some time on their hands, and the classroom environment of a college course can fill that void very effectively. For newly single, courses can give them, not only a way back to a social normalcy, but a real means for improving the quality of their lives. This is the time to finish that degree you’ve always wanted to finish, or to learn a foreign language or hone a skill you’re good at into a potential occupation.

5. Educational Opportunities: It is often a transitional experience that reveals the need for extra education to either expand and sharpen current skills or explore new careers in other areas of interest. Non credit classes offer a rare opportunity to explore many options at no risk and at a reasonable cost. For persons interested in becoming Dental Hygienists, or Pharmacy Technicians, there are weekend introductory courses to help you discover if either field is right for you. Taking a one-day Notary Certification class can get you going right away as a Notary Public, paid a fee to witness and sign important documents. For those interested in the ever growing field of Home Health Care for the elderly, Caregiver Certification courses will help you to help others who need your abilities in no time. If Real Estate Appraisal has always fascinated you, there are courses for that as well, courses that can help you become an appraiser in a relatively short amount of time and at a reasonable cost.

6. Ecological Interests: With pollution problems and the decrease of resources plaguing our fragile planet, many of us have had a real desire to “go green”, but we just don’t know how. Well, thanks to non credit courses, there are an abundance of classes in our local colleges that are all about becoming more responsible ecologically. From growing gardens in boxes on your yard to containers on your patio, to teaching irrigation, and fertilization tips for greener landscaping, the number of such classes will only continue to grow as people recognize their local colleges as the tremendous resources for life changing learning that they are.

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