|Posted by Angela Diaz on April 9, 2016 at 1:55 PM|
I'd like to write breifly about learning. Learning new skills, hobbies, new ways to do things, etc. Learning should be neverending for us. The world is so big and there are so many things to learn and do. Nowadays one doesn't have to commit to going back to school to learn things. It's easy to acquire new skills outside of the structure of a classroom. I am always learning and researching about any new thing that interests me and I pay little to nothing for the education/information/skills I gather in the process. Recently I took to knitting. I don't have close family or friends that knit. I have always wanted to learn to knit beautiful sweaters. I've crocheted since I was a child in elementary school, but some items just look more professional when they're knitted (at least in my mind). Since my adventures in knitting are very recent, I will use knitting as an example of how I've used various resources to acquire this skill, but these resources can be used for anything from carpentry, learning new languages, learning new instruments, cooking, etc.
1. Library- FREE- The library is a valuable resource to learning. I've borrowed books and DVDs on the topic of knitting and used their computers and free internet to look up more information.
2. YouTube-FREE- YouTube is excellent. Type in anything you want to learn and you have probably hundreds of results, enough to keep you busy for a very long time. There are so many How-To videos. I even used YouTube searches when I struggled with something specific. For example, I didn't know how to hold my string and control tension, so I looked that up specifically. I didn't know how to put my stitches on a holder, so I looked that up when I was stuck on a project.
3. Meetups/Groups-FREE (depending on the group)- I joined a free knitting group that meets the first Saturday of every month and is located in a local retirement community. The schedule works perfectly with mine and not only am I surrounded by women who have been knitting for decades, they even throw in free coffee, tea, and snacks! The group is open for all ages and I bring my young daughter who recently learned to crochet. We bring the projects we are working on and share ideas, projects, patterns, and knowledge. There is also a free knitting group/class that meets every Monday evening in my local library. When I'm stuck on a project, I don't have to wait a month or 3 weeks until my monthly group meets, I can go on Monday evening and get the help I need, or just for a relaxing evening of knitting and socializing.
4. Workshops- FREE or Registration Fee- Look in your local Craigslist, newspaper, craft shop, etc to look for classes or workshops that are being offered in your area.
5. Craftstores-FREE or Cost of Purchases- This pertains to learning new crafts. Go to a place that specializes in what you are interested in learning. If it's gardening, hang out in a garden nursery. Talk to the employees or the customers that look like they know their stuff. I have gotten into great conversations with people in these places. If I see an old lady near the knitting needles aisle, you bet I'm going to talk to her!
6. People/Mentors-FREE- Look for people who are skilled at what you want to learn. I found a coworker that knows how to knit and she helps. If you want to learn Spanish, find someone whose first language was Spanish and hang out with them, practice with them, and maybe see if they can mentor you.
7. Trial and Error- FREE (Sometimes)- You can't forget to actually practice what you want to learn. Want to learn to play the guitar, try, fail, try and fail again. Carpentry? Try. Make some crooked cabinets. Try again and hope they don't fall off the walls this time. Nothing beats the process of hands on learning.
8. Writing-FREE- Doesn't make much sense now, but write about your new interest or passion. Keep a log of your progress. Read what others have written on this topic. Take Notes. Writing is important because you have a better chance of retaining what you've learned if you write it down.
9. Blogs-FREE- Subscribe to blogs and read what the professionals are writing. Blogs are great because they are not just How-To sites. They are personal. Bloggers share their struggles, their passion, their projects, new things they've learned, etc. You really feel like you have a comrade in this field.
10. Books and Magazine Subscription-Cost- This may seem the same as using the library, but there is a slight difference in how we use our own books, isn't there? If you borrow a library book multiple times and it is a great reference tool that you can use over and over again, buy it. Buy it used if you can (that's the frugalness in me talking). Highlight important areas of the book, make notes in the margins, put sticky notes or tabs so that you can quickly get to the pages of importance. Make that book yours. Same with magazines. Rip out the article you want to keep and add it to your notebook. Make notes and mark pages. Make it worth the subscription cost.
I am daily researching new ideas, new skills, new interests. Whether it's traveling, brushing up on a language, learning a new craft, or even just learning how to unclog my bathroom sink. I never want to stop learning and growing. I am a better person every day and every year as I learn and grow and become a better, wiser, more interesting, and more skilled person than I was a year ago.