Are You a Life-long Learner
December 5, 2017
There are many benefits to learning beyond the walls of college or graduate school. Those benefits range from cognitive, social, and spiritual, to career. Given the benefits, we should all strive to be life-long learners, but those who place significance on continued learning, are the same people who forge ahead on the corporate ladder.
The answer may be stunningly simple. Those who make a steady climb up the ladder are in a constant state of learning to stay on top of industry trends, read about people who are taking new approaches to common problems, study how to be better leaders tops the long list. But life-long learners also strive to learn about things outside the realm of their career. If you look at what CEOs are reading (I’ve written about this before), they are reading books about business and industry, but they are also reading about history, the plight of humankind, health, urban America, family & culture, and memoirs or biographies about inspiring people. These leaders want to learn about more than what they do for their career because they know the more they learn about a wide variety of topics, the more they can engage, the more they can push beyond boundaries, which leads to more opportunities both professionally and personally.
Life-long learning can be achieved in many ways. Clearly, I am writing to you from a large university, where I am surrounded by life-long learners. And here at Goodwin, we are a haven for life-long learners because we educate students from 18-years-old to men and women in their late 50s, maybe even early 60s - traditional academic degrees and continuing education. And an MS in Professional Studies professor serves as a role model because he has eight, yes eight, college and advanced degrees. But being a life-long learner doesn’t mean you have to go back to school or enroll in an expensive course. Life-long learning can be as simple as reading a book, watching Ted Talks, listening to podcasts, or going to free lectures at your local library.
The hallmark characteristic of a life-long learner is curiosity – a desire to know more. Your curiosity can carry you to a wine tasting event, a poetry reading, a panel discussion on retirement planning, or a lecture on globalization and what that really means. Regardless of where your curiosity may take you, give it free reign and then follow it. Your journey will most definitely be filled with incredible rewards and unexpected surprises.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head, Graduate Studies