We live in remarkable times. When I was a kid, I had to go to the library (or sit in a classroom) to learn about something. Today, people who want to know anything have the world’s brainpower at their fingertips. Whether you want to learn by reading, by watching, or by listening, you can find someone to teach you – often for free.
Most conferences are expensive and cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, corporate sponsors sometimes participate in a conference to help educate a certain group of people. I spent part of every day last week at Detroit Startup Week, a local conference for entrepreneurs. I went from session to session learning about marketing, social media, identifying customers and more – all at no cost to me. Even the parking was free! With a little research, you may find a conference that fits with something you want to learn.
Your community might have adult education classes on a variety of topics at a low cost. Don’t forget to look at offerings from libraries, local city groups and associations, too! Last week, I taught overviews of photo organizing and preserving at a local senior center and a public library. Attendees were welcome to listen and ask questions during the hour for free, and now have a contact for future questions on the topic. Most libraries bring in speakers on a variety of topics from financial planning to local history. Take advantage of the free information!
As a librarian, I have to start with a warning to understand who has posted information online before you trust what you see. You don’t want to take medical advice from someone with no qualifications! However, people who know what they’re talking about write blogs, post instructional videos, and write encyclopedia entries all over the internet. Where have you seen that actor before? Go to IMDB and get lost in the actor’s list of appearances. How do you properly fold a t-shirt? Go to YouTube and pick your favorite method after watching a few different videos. No matter what you’re looking for, you can be sure someone has posted about it online.
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
Learning about new things has always been important to personal growth. Look for opportunities to pursue your passion and keep getting excited about the knowledge you acquire. It’s yours for the taking!