There are some people who are truly proud to have studied at the “university of life” and scorn anyone who has done a course or gone to a university. While there is a lot to be said about learning on the job, this seems incredibly short-sighted.
Given the amount of knowledge there is out there, investing in your education isn’t just about getting a certificate to put on the wall – it is about opening your eyes to new ideas and better ways of doing things. In this respect, there is very little difference between a prestigious degree from the Ivy League to a course you’ve completed at your local library. Both show that you are willing to learn and understand the value of education.
The first rule in investing might be to get in there early, but it is never too late to start.
Get Ahead in Your Career
One of the main things that employers look for is evidence that you will be able to handle the job they are recruiting for. Having a qualification written on paper is the best way to prove that you can do the job, but it also shows that you are willing to learn, have managed to concentrate on something long enough to get an award and you are self-motivated. All of these things count when a hiring agency are flipping through 100s of resumes looking for the right people to interview.
And this is the next advantage. If you want to get ahead in your career, even if you don’t have direct experience, being able to show that you are a learner and you at least have some relevant education behind you will make you stand out more. Starting at the bottom of the ladder making coffees is fine, but if you want to make swift progress, the best way to do it is to get qualified and fast. For example, doing an mba management online would give you the skills you need to get a promotion.
While education is great for getting you into your first job, you must also be open to continuing your education to be in with a chance of promotion. Sticking at one thing for a long time is no longer a good enough reason to promote someone to something different. Now, you need to show that you are a mover and a shaker by requesting that you go on courses, shadow colleagues or even do another degree on the side.
Learning new skills is vital in a dynamic work environment and the business landscape is changing all the time. If you can show that you are willing to keep up with the changes and ride the waves, you will stand a much better chance of rising to the top. You have to speculate to accumulate and with your education, you could get a lot more than you hoped for.
Expand Your Horizons
But education isn’t just about getting ahead in your chosen career, it is also about exposing yourself to new things, people and ideas. The real beauty of life is that there is so much to explore and you will only hold yourself back if you aren’t willing to see what else could be out there.
Travel is one of the best ways to expand your horizons and become a better person. Trying out research holidays supporting local scientists will give you a new way of looking at the world while making a real and tangible difference to the academic landscape. In fact, doing this kind of holiday could lead you down an entirely different route with your life and career too.
Interestingly, travel has a lot of benefits that are certainly worth investing the time and money for. People who travel are shown to be much better at problem solving, have a bit more faith in humanity and are much more open minded too. All of these skills and attributes aren’t something that you can learn alone in your room – you do need to spend to get the experience – but when you look at the return, surely this is worth the investment.
Unlike our parents, millennials are much more likely to work in a gig economy, going from one project to another and expanding skill sets along the way. This kind of flexible working means that unless you are an expert in one particular thing, you need to be open to doing all kinds of stuff and learning along the way. Opening yourself up to new things through a varied education is the best way to qualify yourself for all sorts of roles and opportunities.
Let Your Creativity Shine
The most creative people in the world are those who have a ridiculous amount of knowledge and are prepared to play around with things that shouldn’t fit together but magically, somehow, they do. This is one of the main reasons that constant education and learning through so many different channels is important.
For example, let’s say that you have a meeting at work and everyone is coming up with the same boring old ideas. What if you had read something that morning that has could be a great inspiration or what if that time you were traveling, some guy you met on the road said this thing? Great ideas can come from anywhere so the more places you go, or read about and the more ideas you are receptive to, the more likely it is that you will have a great idea of your own.
Creativity is a great skill to have and it comes naturally for some people who are drawn to knowledge. If you aren’t really that kind of academic person, then don’t panic because any and all knowledge counts. The key thing is not what you know, but how varied your knowledge is. For example, you could sit and read every graphic novel ever published and have a fantastic knowledge of that one thing or you could diversify and read other things too. The more you can diversify your education, the more creative you will naturally become.
Be More Attractive
And, finally, people are attracted to people who are smart. It’s that simple. The more you know and the more intuitive you are, the more likely people are to like and get on with you. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense as many people are looking for a partner they can go through life with, learning at a similar rate. It also makes sense from a career perspective because a manager will be more attracted to a candidate who can keep up than one who will need a lot more spoon feeding.
It might surprise you, but having a college education can be a huge advantage when you list it on an online dating profile. You are much more likely to be ‘liked’ and even more likely to get responses to any messages you send. So if getting ahead in your career, expanding your horizons and being more creative weren’t already good reasons to invest in your education, getting a date might just persuade you!
As you go through life, continually learning or researching new things, signing yourself up for lectures or courses or even going back to school, you will find that as you learn more, you will become more open to new ideas and happier for it too. Think of your education process as a room full of doors. The more doors you open, the bigger the room gets and the more options you have.
The world is changing and in the information age, a passion for learning is by far the most important personal attribute you can have. Even if you aren’t an academic type, just having enough curiosity to ask questions will set you on the path to success.