When my young friend told me there’d be no back to school for her, my heart bled. I also had a flashback to my community college days. The summer was ending and all my friends were moving on to university while I had to get a job because things were…complicated.
My friends had been excited about the courses they’d be taking, the hall (dorm) they’d be on and which friend from school would be their dorm-mate. While they were picking out notebooks and things for their dorm room, I was busy writing resumes and hand-delivering them.
My heart bled for this young girl when she told me she wasn’t going to university the year after community college because “it was complicated”. Especially since I knew her best friend was ensconced on hall waiting for school to begin. Along with most of her youth group from church. She’d be one of the few left behind. Because things were complicated, she’d have to get a job in the hopes of saving enough to cover her tuition.
Sad to say, one of the things that happen to young adults who have to go to work to “earn their tuition”, is that they never get to go back to school. Too often they get “stuck” in the working world. Sometimes, they start a family before realizing their dreams thus permanently putting the hope of obtaining a degree on hold.
But is there hope for a young person who has no back to school in their immediate future?
I don’t have all the answers but here’s what I wish I had known when my circumstances had been “complicated” and there had been no back to school for me.
What to Do When All Your Friends Are In School
1. Never stop learning: Keep the books you used in school. Use them to keep the material fresh in your brain. Go to the library; keep building on your knowledge. Today there are so many options for learning including are online universities which offer free courses. These are commonly known as MOOCs which means Massive Open Online Courses. Some even offer the option to take a test and pay for certification.
I will list a few of them here but I want you to understand that there’s a lot of information out there. In fact, if you go to www.mooc-list.com you’ll find a long list of upcoming courses (for the next 30 days), their start date and the MOOC that offers it. Courses are also rated out of ten by users.
www.Coursera.org – Access courses from over 140 top universities including Harvard, Yale and Penn State. Courses are available in a variety of languages including French, Spanish and Chinese. Students have the option to learn for free or pay for certification. Courses may be taken in faculties ranging from Arts & Humanities to Life Sciences to Personal Development. They even offer financial aid which you can apply for.
www.Alison.com – Currently offers over 1000 free online courses. Certificates can be paid for which will carry the Alison seal. They occasionally offer a sale on parchments when you can get a percentage off your first certificate. Courses range from business and entrepreneurial skills to personal development and soft skills.
www.EdX.org – Users can sign up to take courses from MIT, Harvard, Linux, and Microsoft. Once again courses are available free but a certificate may be obtained by paying a small fee.
www.Ted.com – While Ted Talks is not a traditional MOOC, it does provide the opportunity for you to learn something new. Individuals provide their expertise in the areas of technology, entertainment or design in the form of a talk. It is a good opportunity to learn from the experience of others.
And let’s not forget the University of YouTube. With so many content creators, you’re bound to find tons of information on almost any topic you could dream of. After you determine which topics you’re interested in, create a playlist. Then, search for videos on YouTube and add them to the list. Set aside some time to watch the videos. I would suggest listening to them once while you’re doing something like dishes so you can know which ones provide the most valuable information.
Listen to those videos again, but this time take notes.
Skillshare.com – Skillshare has courses that fall into the categories of business, creative, technology or lifestyle. If you’re thinking of becoming a creative entrepreneur, Skillshare has a number of courses to help you get started. You can start learning for free but premium courses are only available with a paid membership. If you want to check out what Skillshare has to offer, my link will give you 2 free months premium access. All you have to do is click the link and sign up.
Teachable.com – Like Skillshare, this has courses for the creative entrepreneur. Creators have an exclusive “university” where they offer their courses. Some are free while others are paid. You can also teach your own classes if you pay for membership.
Webinars – There is no single link for this. A lot of content creators offer webinars where they provide free content to their subscribers. You will learn about webinars via sponsored Facebook and Instagram ads, or on blogs and YouTube channels. In most cases, it will require a sign-up but you can unsubscribe at any time.
I would suggest that you set some time aside each day that is devoted to sharpening your skills or learning something new. Most of the courses will indicate the minimum commitment required so that you are able to budget that time.
2. Invest in yourself – Do short courses. While you may not be able to study what you hoped you would, knowledge is never wasted. By trying something outside of your skill set you may be surprised to find that you discover a new talent or a new gift.Not being able to go to university with your friends is no reason to turn your back on God. http://bit.ly/2bVJig5 #nobacktoschool #hebrews12endurance #lifelonglearner Click To Tweet
3. It’s not God’s fault – God is not doing anything to you. He loves you and He would never want anything bad to happen to you. We have to remember that sometimes the path we choose for ourselves is not necessarily the path He would have chosen for us. Not being able to go to university with your friends is no reason to turn your back on God.
This YouTube playlist will teach you various techniques for studying the Bible on your own.
Other Things To Do When There’s No Back to School for You
- Start a blog or a vlog – maybe you want to share some of the new information you’ve learned in your online studies. Or maybe you have a skill or talent that others want to learn. Or, it could just be an opportunity to document your experience.
- Learn a language – use some of the time you’re not working to learn a foreign language. Who knows? It might provide an opportunity to tutor someone so you can add to that growing college fund.
- Mentor a young person – someone may benefit from your wisdom and experience. Be active in your youth department and encourage those younger than yourself. You might even find that they are a source of inspiration for you.
As I wrap up this post I want to leave you with one final thought: The internet is good for more than just socializing. There not be a back to school for you but there’s a whole lot of knowledge that can be gleaned from YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, and the works…(There are way too many social media tools to name here).
Use them to enhance your marketability, as well as, your sociability. Read good blogs. Watch good programs. Play brain games. Challenge yourself to keep the brain limber and in shape. After all the brain is a muscle – if you don’t use it, you lose it.
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