Extending Learning Beyond Your Campus Years

May 20, 2011 -
After college, you’ll likely never have to write a paper on the inhumanity of man in Don Quixote or solve 50 statistics problems using standard deviation before class the next day. However, you will have to prepare for meetings and presentations. Learning shouldn’t end when you cross the stage at graduation. According to a study by the Jenkins Group,  “42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.” (The validity of this study is questionable, but it’s often quoted). Just because you aren’t going to be graded on how well you know a book, doesn’t mean you should stop reading. Read books on management, even if you aren’t in management (yet). Read books on other businesses. Read fiction for enjoyment. Every book you read adds to your collective knowledge. Not only are books great conversation starters, but they also can nudge you into make positive changes. Balance your checkbook. Practice math. You never know when understating financials can help you make a good decision or keep you from making a bad one. But you should continue to learn because more than anything else, learning makes you a valuable employee. It sets you apart, makes you a more well-rounded person and keeps your skills sharp. Every office has that one person who has always done things one way. They begrudgingly accepted email, but that’s it. Change is glacial, if at all. Yet every year, new hires come in with baffling technical skills widening the gap even more. “Individuals born from 1957 to 1964 held an average of 11 jobs from age 18 to age 44,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.  Job hopping is more common now than ever before. If your skill sets haven’t evolved to make you competitive with those fresh out of college, how do you expect to land that next job? Aurora Meyer is the Online Communications Coordinator for the Missouri State Teachers Association. A journalist by training, she previously covered education-related issues in Missouri, Texas and Washington, DC. Find out more at her blog.