How would you feel about going back to school?

Back to School. At this time of year, many of us get that Back to School feeling! Even if your own schooling is far behind you, and you don’t have kids to organise, there is still something about this time of year that feels like a new beginning. 

Perhaps it’s something ingrained in us from our childhood, or that early morning nip in the air reminding us autumn is on its way. But there’s a sense of anticipation that things are about to change, and new challenges lie ahead. Which can lead to us feeling a bit restless: as if we want to do something new, but we’re not quite sure what.

But how would you feel about going back to school? Not necessarily to give up everything and enrol for a full time course, but to take the plunge in a different way and learn something completely new.

In this article we look at five good reasons for learning something new this autumn, and five different ways you could do this.

Five good reasons to learn something new this autumn

  • Just because you want to 

What better reason to learn? Life can be so busy that we keep putting off the things we really want to do. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to speak another language, play a musical instrument, become a better cook, or learn all about the history of art. 

Whatever your interest or passion, why not invest a little bit of time and money in making it happen?

  • To meet new like-minded people

Another benefit of learning something new is that it can open up a whole new world in terms of friendships. If you are in any kind of class with other people, there is a natural opportunity to make friends there. But even if you are studying independently, you can meet like-minded people in online forums. 

You may also find that talking about your new interest with people you already know can add an extra spark to existing friendships. You may even discover that others share your passion but had never mentioned it before.

  • To get better at your current job

You may decide to learn something new to help you improve the way you do your current job. If there’s an aspect of your job you struggle with, it could be worth learning how to do it better in your own time, on top of any training you are receiving at work. 

So whether it’s some kind of technical or IT skill, or more general people or communications skills, you may find that topping up your skills will make your day job easier to do.

  • To increase your prospects of a better job

Getting better at your current job can also increase your prospects of getting a new job. Whatever kind of work you are in, most employers will also be looking for transferable skills such as communication, creativity, problem-solving, flexibility and people management. 

If you are learning some of these skills outside work as well as in your current job, this could increase your chances of a better job. And even the fact that you are studying outside work – whatever the topic – can make your CV stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs.

  • To completely change the direction of your life

Learning can also open up the way to a complete life change. You may start learning something outside work that you become really passionate about, and decide to make a career of it. For example, you could change your job to something that is more interesting for you. Or you may even decide to start working towards setting up your own business in the future.

Anything is possible and it all has to start somewhere.

But if you do want to learn something new this autumn, how do you go about doing it?

Five different ways to learn

  • Full or part time courses

Many universities offer degree or vocational courses that are suitable for adults. If your circumstances would not enable you to study full time, it’s possible to find a part time or distance learning course that you can fit in around work and other commitments.

Take a look at some of the options available on the UCAS website.

  • Evening classes

Autumn is the starting time for many evening courses and classes. The good news is that the evenings are still light which is a great incentive: hopefully you will be well into the groove of going to your class before the dark nights arrive.

So check out your local colleges – or websites such as Find Courses or WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) – to find out more about the kinds of courses available in your area.

  • Live online classes

During the pandemic, video conferencing tools such as Zoom really came into their own. And now it does not seem strange at all to interact in real time with others online. There are many interactive classes available on Zoom and similar platforms. 

So if you want to study from the comfort of your own home, but also want to do this in the company of others, this should all be possible. Check out the websites mentioned above, but also just try Googling online courses for the topic you want to learn.

  • Personal study

You may prefer to study independently, so that you can work at your own pace and are not tied to particular days and times. There are many ways that you can do this, including books, DVDs and online resources. 

For example, if you are looking for job-related skills, check out the government Skills Toolkit that provides a list of free online technical and business courses. There are also various websites to help you learn a new language such as Duolingo or Babbel. And for most topics, a quick browse through Youtube is likely to reveal plenty of general resources to get you started!

  • Self-managed group study

If you do want to learn with others, but want a more flexible arrangement than a formal course, why not consider starting your own study group? Either get a couple of friends together, or throw it out there on local social media sites to find others who are interested. You could form a small group to study something of mutual interest in an informal environment. Perhaps take turns to host and lead an evening, using online resources and discussion afterwards. Definitely worth a try.

We hope that this article has given you some ideas and inspiration about ways to learn something new this autumn.

Good luck! And remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from direct lender Munzee Loans.