Missing School? 5 Ways to Continue Learning After College

5 Easy Ways to Continue Learning Online After College
by Sarah Davidson
Photos Anna Shackleford | February 16, 2017
“I just miss school,” my friends and I gripe to each other, oh, every other day.
At our entry- or mid-level twenty-something jobs we treat answering the phone, scheduling meetings, and keeping folders organized with the same importance we once devoted to close readings of feminist texts or solving macroeconomic equations.

We know that no job will be challenging and exciting every day, and these jobs are exactly what we’re supposed to be doing to build our careers. But that knowledge doesn’t necessarily satisfy our desire to continue learning—and learning more than just the inner workings of an organization or a new Excel trick.

Sound familiar? If you’re at a loss for how to keep that curious mind fed, check out these ideas for simulating school on your own.

1. Start a Book Club—And Actually Read the Book

Those same friends I told you about up top and I started a book club, complete with a group text and themed snacks, and it’s going great. For our last meeting we read a memoir that took place in an Australian beach town and discussed over Tim Tams and white wine while YouTube videos of ocean waves played on the TV. My mind buzzed in a way it hadn’t since college—and not because of the wine.

The rules? One meeting per month. Take turns hosting and choosing the book. No rescheduling, no slacking on reading, serious discussion only.

2. Sign Up for Some Extracurriculars

Were you one of those lucky kids whose parents were always signing them up for soccer club or ceramics class at the local rec center? Remember how those catalogs always had a section with adult classes, too? It’s easy to forget that these resources exist when you’re deep in your weekly routine. Get your Google (or Meetup) on, grab a buddy, and confront the unfamiliar—it might do wonders for your tired psyche to spend a few hours a week caring about nothing but perfecting your technique on the pottery wheel. Most major cities also have no shortage of affordable wine-and-painting pairings and kickball leagues.

3. Participate In Your Community

Everyone’s college experience is different, but for this Oregon-bred white girl, meeting people who were different from me was kind of the main event. When I was living in New York after graduation, I signed up for New York Cares, an organization that makes finding volunteer opportunities so easy you can choose one based on your train line (there are equivalent options in most cities, plus national sites like Idealist). Other friends of mine joined organizations like Step Up or Minds Matter that allow them to help high school students apply to college.

Going to elderly care facilities and local schools helped to remind me that a world outside of work and happy hour exists, and offered a regular (and healthy) dose of perspective. Plus, I met other volunteers of all ages and backgrounds I normally wouldn’t have. A few times, volunteer days turned into coffee dates, and I felt like I was back at the student center on campus.

4. Visit Our (Virtual) Career Center

Throughout your academic career, you tend to encounter plenty of opportunities to bounce ideas about your future off caring adults. Then, once you leave school, if you don’t have a lifelong mentor, you’re kind of...on your own. What’s up with that?

Enter a shameless plug for our career mentorship services. We just launched a course designed to help you reflect on what your dream job entails and then help you land it, and our CEO Lauren, a former recruiter at Hulu, will be your guide: 

Hiring one of our seasoned mentors will give you even more personalized guidance. And if you’re more of a learn-on-your-own type, check out our worksheets and webinars.

5. App-ly Yourself

I know, I know—saying “there’s an app for that” got old, like, years ago. But did you know how many amazing online learning apps exist? You can learn a language, practice your geography, even turn your phone into a graphing calculator. And if you just want to sit back and listen to people have an intellectual discussion, we don’t have to tell you how many amazing storytellers are out there podcasting.

How do you keep learning?