How to Continue Learning After College

Once you walk across the stage and receive your diploma, you’ve entered a new chapter in your life. Life after exiting the college bubble can be confusing, challenging, and, at times, overwhelming. You spend four years absorbing as much information as possible and developing successful habits and patterns. But how do you take what you’ve learned in college and carry those skills over into the real world? Moreover, how do you find relevant ways to continue learning even after you’ve said goodbye to your alma mater?

You can continue learning after college by seeking professional development opportunities at your workplace and by establishing strategies to maintain your productive habits. Keep reading to learn additional ways you can continue learning after college.

Continue learning after college by maintaining the positive habits you established in school

While in college, you likely faced assignments and tasks that prompted you to develop successful study habits. You may not have exams and homework at your new job, but your career will demand many of the skills you used in school. For example, you will need to hone skills such as:

  • Organization, especially if you have multiple projects to keep straight at the same time

  • Time management so you can complete all tasks asked of you on time

  • Focus—you may have found ways to beat procrastination while in college, so bring these skills into the workplace.

These habits, among others, will be vital to success at your job. You spent the past four-to-six years developing these skills and figuring out what worked well for you and what didn’t. Remember how you became successful in college, and translate these skills into your post-graduate life.

[RELATED: 4 Lessons Recent Graduates Should Carry From College]

Continue learning after college by finding continuing education programs

Continuing education programs are an excellent way to keep learning once you graduate from college. You may not have time to sit in a physical classroom on a weekly schedule like you did in the past, but there are many other ways to continue learning on your own time. This can be as simple as signing up for online tutoring in a subject area where you are interested in further developing your skills.

In addition to tutoring, communities often offer continuing education programs through a local library or community center. Depending on what you’re looking to learn, there may be volunteer opportunities you can participate in to keep your mind active and your skill set engaged. Also, look into what continuing education courses your alma mater or a local college or university may offer. These may be night classes, such as sign language or creative writing, that last a designated number of weeks. Pinpoint what you may be interested in learning or improving, and explore all local and online options available to you.

[RELATED: How Online Learning Helps Students]

Continue learning after college by seeking professional development opportunities in your workplace  

Professional development opportunities differ from continuing education programs because these consist of chances at your place of work to interact with other departments and gain new skills. Many companies offer programs specific to bringing different parts of the company together to collaborate on projects that benefit the organization as a whole. These types of opportunities give you a unique chance to network with individuals outside of your department and to get your name known among other areas of the business. You may be new to your position, but professional development programs can provide a chance to showcase what you are capable of and your willingness to take on new tasks.  

Additionally, speak with your manager to inquire about any individual professional development opportunities that may be available. For instance, there may be monthly meetings within your department where employees can ask questions and converse about  aspects of the company they want to learn more about. Showing your manager that you are excited to expand your skill set and continue learning can help increase your value within the company.

Adjusting to life after college can be challenging. It’s key not to lose the good habits you developed during college, as well as to find ways to translate those into your career.

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