How to keep learning after you graduate from college

When you think about it, our purpose on this planet seems to be to learn as much as we can. We begin our lives learning about our surroundings, our mother tongue, our social customs, academics and so on. Even after you are done with your school/college, the process of learning never stops. It is boundless and is always accessible for those who seek it.

When you will be working on your first assignment for a company, you will definitely start learning again. This time, it will be about the assignment at hand and its impact on business. You will also be figuring out how to make your work better. All this will require a learning mindset. Most of you will get into the flow and be comfortable with learning as much as you can to improve yourself. However, a funny thing happens when you grow older. Your capacity to learn slowly reduces along with your desire to learn. Your intelligence levels stay the same though. This is fairly natural as far as the brain in concerned. Priorities, evolutionary processes and limiting beliefs all come together to put a limit on how much you can learn.

For those who aspire to be lifelong learners, this is a scary proposition!

That being said, you can stimulate your brain to get back into the learning mode.

1. Curiosity:

Effective learning is the outcome of curiosity. This is the driving engine behind most of the world’s greatest discoveries. Humans are born with the gift of curiosity but sadly, it tends to fizzle off by the time you reach your 30s. One possible reason for this to happen might be because of the amount of learning that we have had to do to understand our world. By that age, it might be natural to assume that you have a definitive understanding of the world around you and the processes that happen therein.

The truth is very different. Our progress as humans might have gotten us a lot of knowledge, but there is still scope for additional learning. The world is dynamic and unless you keep updating yourself, there are good chances that you will be left behind professionally. Cultivate curiosity in your daily lives. Look to understand why things are as they are. Questioning most of the things around you will get you to learn more.

2. Setting Goals:

Identifying your interests and setting goals can help you learn systematically and efficiently. You need to identify what interests you early on and read up on other people’s experience when learning the same thing. Once you have done your research, set up reasonable milestones for yourself. Say, you want to learn programming. Identify why you want to learn programming. Do you want to code for the web or native systems? Which programming language would be the best one for you? How long will you take to build your first product? All these are important questions and can give you direction when it comes to learning on your own.

3. Finding study material:

After setting preliminary goals, the next task in front of you is to get all your study material together. Thanks to the Internet, you will get some fantastic resources on almost all subjects, easily at your finger tips. You might have to pay for some books and other you might even be able to get for free.

Do not go overboard and download everything that is written on the subject. You will get confused later about which book to begin with. One good option is to figure out a good beginners book and an intermediate level book. Start out with learning from the introductory resource and get references from the intermediate level one. After some time you will realize that you will have covered both the books and will need an expert level resource.

4. Practice:

It is easy to grasp something by reading it out of a book. However, there are good chances that you will forget it a week later. Therefore, it is imperative to practice what you have learned as much as you can repeatedly. Repetition of tasks helps your brain to fully grasp a concept and store it for future use. Without practice, your grasp on a particular subject might slip off easily.

One great way to get around this is preach what you practice. While you learn something new, find a way to teach it to someone who is interested. Teaching concepts to others cements that knowledge in your brain. The great physicist Feynman used to write what he learnt on a piece of paper and then pretend that he was teaching it to someone else!

5. Involve people:

Getting more people to learn with you is also a very good way to collaboratively find new knowledge and motivate yourself. If you are interested in say, robotics and you know some fellow geeks who are also into it, you should go ahead and set up a robotics team and figure out how to build something cool. Shared learning can help you to get better at something in a smaller time period.

However, not all of us can learn in a group. Some people excel by learning on their own. If you are one of those, then you should keep doing whatever you are doing.

Resources for learning:

1. edX

2. Coursera

3. Udacity

4. Khan Academy

  1. Youtube EDU

Happy Learning!!!