Don't Stop Learning: 5 Ways To Expand Your Knowledge After College

"Back-to-school" season is upon us.

Even if you’ve already graduated, this can be the perfect time of year to get excited about learning something new. You may even be surprised at how fun learning can be when it’s on your own terms and deadlines.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Stay curious.”

There are infinite possibilities for learning something new and exciting. If you are always curious about something, you will never grow old.

For me, I found my passion for calligraphy and painting by registering for an online class. Now, I sell paintings of my poetry on Etsy, all because I took that one calligraphy class.

The hardest part is taking the leap and diving into something new. Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen?

Here are some of my favorite ways to stay up-to-date with learning:

1. Read. Read. Read.

You know how people say that the most successful people are always reading? It’s true.

Not only does reading expand your knowledge, it also keeps your brain active. You are constantly processing information, and this makes you quick on your feet when it comes to new ideas and innovations.

As for the creative types out there, reading is just as important for you. Looking for new inspiration for your latest art project? Read a novel. Looking for a topic for your next short story? Read some poetry.

The answers to all of your questions are written between the lines of your favorite stories.

For those of us on a budget, the local library holds endless possibilities for learning something new. Bring a friend and try to find a new favorite author for the month.

2. Talk to a mentor.

Learning from other people is one of the most effective ways to stay educated.

Also, in today's technology-driven world, having a mentor keeps you sharp with your people skills.

Go to coffee with someone once a month and have a topic planned for both of you. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from one person in an hour.

Don’t know how to find a mentor? Ask around! One of your friends may have a boss or colleague who would love to chat with you about the topics you’re interested in.

Just remember: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

3. Take an online class.

I’m not talking about the online classes you dreaded in college. I’m talking about fun classes, about topics you’re interested in.

I personally love Skillshare, a site where you can learn how to do just about anything.

The lessons on Skillshare are short and separated into sections so you don’t have to watch the entire class in one sitting. The teachers are experts and give you guidelines for projects you can upload and share with the class.

Sometimes, the class can be as big as 5,000 people! But that’s the beauty of it. There are no deadlines. You work at your own pace, and you create something amazing in the process.

My recent Skillshare obsessions include soap-making and surface pattern design. It makes me feel like a kid again, while still engaging my creativity.

While in-person workshops and classes are incredible, they can be pricy and not always available in your area. That’s why I always suggest looking online first.

There’s a whole new world for you to explore, in whatever field you choose.

4. Try something new.

Another way to expand your knowledge is to throw yourself into a new situation.

For us Californians, that could mean trying surfing for the first time, or doing that hike you never thought you could do. You could also try a new workout class, or an interesting food you don’t know how to pronounce.

By putting yourself in these slightly uncomfortable situations, you are challenging your mind and learning as you go.

No one is forcing you to become an expert in these things, and that’s the fun of it! You get to learn what you want, when you want.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This is the most important one (in my opinion): Ask everyone EVERYTHING. Ask them about their jobs, their hobbies and their interests. People love talking about themselves and what they're good at.

You'd be surprised by how much you can learn from your best friend if you just ask the right questions.

Learning does not have to be a burden. It can be as exciting as you make it, as long as you step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Think of all you can learn by this time next month!

So, what are you waiting for?