You need to get an education and find a good job.
I’m sure you’ve heard these words or maybe even said them.
I know I have because I believe in education.
I have worked in higher education and been fortunate enough to have administered continuing education and international education programs along with a host of other education-related experiences.
Yet, somehow, the words exhorting us to get an education seem dry as toast – even though education is the most amazing way to change our lives.
Most of us have some kind of formal education to our credit – whether that is a course, a training certification, or a college degree.
But how did you decide what kind of education you needed?
If you are like me, your choices were probably based on doing some kind of job. Because we all need to earn a living, right?
My educational trajectory started something like this:
Dad: I think you should go to law school. Once you have a law degree, you can do anything.
Inside my head: I think that will work. I really don’t know what I want to do. I’d like to give business administration a try but there’s also French, Art History, International Relations, and…. OK. I think I’ll get a law degree.
Does any part of this conversation resonate with your own experience?
I wonder what would have happened is someone had said, “Get an education, explore your world and learn about yourself. It’s the single most important thing you can do in your life. If you keep learning, you will always be fresh, creative, and inspired.”
Some days, I indulge in a little fantasy where I re-imagine my education. Where I get to pick what sounds interesting, just because I want to. Just because I like it.
You see, I believe in education, not just for the specific skills that can be learned but for a far more important reason: to discover who you are through the lens of learning.
Any educational experience creates this precious middle space of becoming. Once you start, you are no longer the same person you were. You have knowledge you didn’t have before. About the subject matter. About your reactions to it. Your questions. Your likes and dislikes. As each small bit of information is added, you “become” a bit more.
Did you have the educational experience you wanted? Or did you end up choosing something just because you thought it was the right thing to do? Or because there were so many things you wanted to do but couldn’t choose so you just picked something?
If so, then it is time to re-imagine your education.
Start by browsing through the online schedules of colleges or other education providers in your area. Make a note of any program or course that captures your attention. Be sure to put the items in a list because you are going to want to review what shows up there. The important thing is to be playful and curious. Don’t think too much. What shows up on your list are clues as to where your interests and possibilities currently reside.
After fifteen minutes of doing this exercise, my “course schedule” looked like this:
- Awakening the Dreamer
- Social entrepreneurship
- Study abroad in China
- Fashion – Concept to Market
- The Art of the Pie
Obviously, I couldn’t take all of these courses at once nor would I want to. Rather, this exercise demonstrates how you might chart the course of your own education – on an ongoing basis – without the need to get a student loan.
You can explore your discoveries just as much as you want to by engaging in conversations, reading books, attending workshops, or enrolling in classes.
The choice is yours.
I think I’m ready to go back to school. Are you?
What’s showing up on your course schedule?