"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young." – Henry Ford
A friend of mine recently had a life-changing heart attack. He worked all of his adult life in a physically demanding occupation. Now, at 50, he needs to find a new way to make a living, to start over, and learn skills he never considered needing.
Going back to “school,” whether it is college, on-the-job training, or skills upgrade training, is an intimidating and sometimes fear-filled endeavor.
Here are three things to remember if you need or want to go back to school:
- Get help. There is a myriad of services available for non-traditional students and displaced workers. All colleges provide counseling for people who want to go back to school, and most have inexpensive, short, non-credit classes for specific skill training. Check with government agencies – you may be eligible for counseling, tutoring, or monetary assistance.
- In learning, as with everything else in life, your past is not your future. Don’t decide you can’t succeed in learning because school may have been difficult when you were young. Age is a great equalizer in this case. While most people’s rote memorization skills decline as they age, life experience helps make meaningful connections between what is taught and how to apply it in real life. Many programs give experiential credits.
- Discover your learning style and plan accordingly. There are three basic learning types. Knowing how you learn can help you choose classes and study methods.
- Auditory Learner – learns by listening and responding to what is heard.
- Visual Learner – responds best to illustrations, demonstrations, pictures, and all forms of visual stimulus.
- Kinesthetic Learner – learns best with hands-on training where you can get a feel for what you are doing.
My friend who suffered a heart attack can no longer do the job he held for 20-odd years. However, he has a deep knowledge and understanding of the business. If he adds some computer and bookkeeping skills to that base, he will have a new career.
The time is going to pass whether you use it to your advantage or not. Why not go back to school?