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Learning doesn’t have to stop after finishing college. In fact, the most successful people never stop learning, whether through formal instruction in a traditional classroom setting, exploring the world of online or distance learning, or incorporating their own self-teaching methods as a form of self-guided education.

Here are the best ways to stay mentally active and learning even after you earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Book Clubs

Reading is a fantastic method for improving vocabulary, enhancing critical thought, and engaging with new ideas. However, many people struggle to stay committed to a book from beginning to end. Others who are more sociable find less pleasure in reading than others.

Forming a book club can be a fun way to stay in touch with old friends while catching up on the latest quality literature. Best of all, a book club can provide a social function.


Volunteering in the Local Community

You can learn a lot by interacting with people who lead different lifestyles. Some ideas for volunteerism that also provides informal education for the volunteer include visiting local retirement homes, youth mentorship, or getting involved in services for the homeless.

Gaining a new perspective on life certainly qualifies as a form of education, so why not help out the community while learning simultaneously?


Surveying Classes

Many institutions of higher learning allow non-students to “survey” classes – meaning they can attend and interact with professors and classmates, but do not earn credits at the end of the semester. Surveying is popular among retired people who want to get back into the classroom but perhaps aren’t interested in enrolling in a full degree program.


Online Classes

In addition to in-person surveying, many universities, even highly respected elite ones like Harvard and Yale, offer totally free online courses for young professionals and others interested in expanding their knowledge base or skill sets.


Reading Scientific Literature

The internet is chock full of information that is just a few keystrokes away. Scientific studies are often published online without any paywall, easily accessible to anyone. Learning how to read and “decode” academic language can be a challenge, but once you do, you’ll enjoy the same access to the wide world of scientific research that academics have.