Remember when your parents would ask you “What’d you learn today?” everyday after school? You were either that kid who gave unnecessary detail or the kid who just shrugs her shoulders…no in-between. Throughout all of school, even during college now, I would think, “I can’t wait to be done with school”. I’m not sure if it was so I could finally have a big-girl job with a big-girl paycheck or if it was because I didn’t like the people, or even because learning can be too challenging where it’s not even interesting anymore. Whatever the reason, I’m almost afraid to be done with school.
Okay…I’m just afraid to be financially, emotionally, and physically alone upon graduation. Aside from the typical worries, I’m mostly concerned about what I’ll do once I’m settled down. I don’t want to have life figured out and then hit cruise. I refuse to become that adult who only watches T.V, or in this case, Netflix, after work everyday. I am begging you. Don’t be that guy! My reasoning behind this article is my dad. He would rather run 50 miles than sit down and watch five minutes of the news. So, here’s to my future. With all thanks to my dad.
Step 1: Don’t buy a T.V.
For about 3 years, our house didn’t have a T.V. that was hooked up to cable. We had our T.V. screens plugged into the computers, used only for YouTube and Netflix. This was perfect. First of all, only one person would be using it at a time. It was also in a separate, small room, making it slightly annoying to even watch anything between 4 people with two options. I feel like it’s common sense by now–we all know watching T.V. basically deletes your brain cells. Watching T.V. is sedentary entertainment that requires no intellectual thinking, therefore no intellectual advancement. In fact, watching T.V. decreases a child’s social functioning and verbal language abilities.
Step 2: Band? I haven’t heard that name in years…
I mean, you could start your own band! But that’s not my point. My dad has recently taken up the cello as his new activity. Did you know that playing an instrument can make you smarter? Just like practicing a sport improves your mobility and technique while keeping you physically fit, practicing an instrument improves your memory and increases reaction time (something that slows as we age) while keeping you cognitively healthy. Picking up this new hobby not only improves your health, but will keep you from showing signs of the average senior.
Step 3: Get crafty.
It’s common to hear how students learn their sense of imagination and creativity as we get older. It makes sense: we won’t always have the mind of a toddler and bring our dolls to school to play with our imaginary friend. But, we can keep our sense of wonder by prompting divergent thinking. Yes, I have an article about divergent thinking 🙂 Get on Pinterest (but don’t stay there all day) and start a new project that is do-able yet different for you. My most recent Pinterest-aspiration is hand-lettering and modern calligraphy. This gives me a way to express myself, decorate, and improve my drawing/writing skills.
this is a compilation doodle of many of the Pinterest posts I liked relating to calligraphy. still working on coloring it in.
Step 4: Read a book!
This one seems pretty obvious, if you ask me. Take your eyes off a screen and read something funny, emotional, or challenging. I used to count Twitter as reading until I actually picked up a book. The trick here is finding the right book for you. I like fiction, but I can get bored of it sometimes. I like books that inspire me, help me, or relate to me. I’m currently reading Keep it Shut by Karen Ehman. She discusses the way our words affect our lives and what the Bible says about our uncontrollable chatter. This is something I am deeply interested in and something that I can apply to my life. This encourages learning in a more lifestyle format as opposed to textbook knowledge that can sometimes overpower us. Next on the list: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Step 4.5: Learn about something you’ve always wanted to learn about.
Example A: Every single conversation I’ve had with someone about cars is short and confusing. I know close to nothing about cars. If I was really desperate and somehow found a strange interest in such motorized vehicles, I would watch YouTube videos, ask my dad questions, and search the most popular styles. Boom. Educated.
Example B: I’ve always wanted to go to cosmetology school but was more interested in becoming a teacher. Maybe someday upon graduation, I will go to beauty school and become a seasonal (summers only, duh) hair-stylist. Probably specializing in curly hair (of course). I can see myself learning mathematical things like hair shapes, lengths, and tones based on a persons face shape, size, or color; but also learning things like people-skills, creativity, and dedication for personal improvement.
Find your “I’ve always wanted to” and make it “I’m going to”! Don’t have expectations if you won’t follow through. Be realistic and go outside of your comfort zone.