I know many of you who are graduating. It is a time for celebration, but also a time of fear and anxiety. There are your concerns over what to choose as a career and what life will be like after college. The good news is that you could have very well written your last academic paper (unless you elect to attend graduate school). The bad news is that it will take more work now to maintain a posture of lifelong learning.
Here are five ways to ensure that learning never stops, even after graduation day:
Listen to podcasts in the car during your commute. I’m still amazed at how much new knowledge can be acquired during the drive to and from work. My favorites are APM’s Marketplace (business news) and Marketplace Money (financial literacy), Slate’s Daily Podcast (political gabfest, cultural gabfest, and the green lantern’s environmental stories), and Tony Campolo’s Podcast (sermons, talks and radio programs from the author, professor and speaker). I also listen to Creating a Family (talk about adoption and infertility) and just subscribed to The Chronicle of Higher Education's podcasts.
Get to know your local public library. I remember loving the library as a kid and making good use of Chapman’s library while I was there in the early 90s. Somehow I forgot how wonderful the library is as an adult. I rediscovered it a couple years back and love the opportunity to explore all that our local libraries have to offer. If you live in South Orange County and haven't visited the Mission Viejo Library, you're missing out on a wonderful part of our community. Your public library likely has the following all for free: DVDs, audio books you can listen to on your iPod, CD player or computer, magazines, newspapers, movie nights, author visits, and even a used bookstore to either donate to or support.
Find a mentor. We can sit back to wait until we find a person who gives us good advice, or we can be proactive and set up a mentoring relationship ourselves. Ask someone to mentor you and then set up regular times to get together to discuss your goals and challenges. Take the next step from there and set up a personal board of directors, where you have someone who you can ask questions about your personal finances (your CFO), another who you can talk to about branding yourself (your VP of marketing), and an individual who you consult when it comes time to negotiate salary at your new job (your VP of sales).
Set up RSS feeds for customized news updates. RSS stands for really simple syndication. Instead of having to read every industry publication or website, you can customize the news you receive and discipline yourself to spend a little time every day staying up to speed with what is going on in the world, in your industry, and in your area of expertise. Common Craft can get you up and running with RSS feeds in no time.
Friend learning organizations on Twitter. While Twitter is becoming widely known as the place to catch up with the latest on John Mayer or Ashton Kutcher, it is also a great place to keep up with learning. The Wall Street Journal has a bunch of useful topics including: WSJWallet (personal finance), WSJBusiness, WSJManagement, WSJCareers, and WSJ. Subscribe to our Innovate Learning Twitter feed and we’ll sift through the masses and bring you the best in leadership and personal effectiveness.
Let us know how you remain a lifelong learner in the comments.