I’d like to consider myself a student of all things attainable. In this life, there is so much to be explored; to be eradicated for our own personal and professional conquests.
The limits of exploration are only confined by our imagination and the obstacles to entry are only constrained by our resources. I believe with a combination of initiative, happenstance and strategic maneuvering, we can find resources to our dreams, right at our doorsteps.
Society’s most glorified measure of learning would most likely be in the classroom. From pre-school to grade school, undergraduate to doctorate, to the highest degree in which one is schooled by a professor, is the stock of being an institutionalized learner.
While the entire college experience is potentially incomparable to any other stage in life, we must remember that graduation is not the end of our learning cycle. It’s imperative that we strive for daily, well-rounded in-take of information. Let’s take a moment to look around at the people, places and things that we often take for granted.
Familiar faces are one of my most treasured resources. These are peers, elders, church members, team members and children alike--people whom we have the easiest access to. They have academic backgrounds, but most importantly they have life experiences that they are willing to share.
I recently had dinner with one of my best friends of over ten years. As she told me her progress over the past year and how she got to this point in life, I was amazed. Not only did I have a newfound respect for her, she gave me the inspiration I needed to become more disciplined in life to achieve some of my personal goals.
Another group of people whose knowledge is underestimated are strangers. Maybe you frequent a store or restaurant and see the same manager or worker. Maybe you’re waiting in line for transportation or a retail purchase. Maybe you’re seated beside someone new at a community meeting. Maybe you’re even walking past a homeless person on the street. These people are everywhere, but are often overlooked.
The key to connecting with strangers is to not put them in boxes, like we often do. The woman wearing a business suit is a snob; the man on the corner has no education. Not true. I’ve learned some of my greatest lessons from taking a moment to be friendly to a stranger. And depending on the circumstance, a stranger may grow to be one of your greatest allies.
The next recommended resource is the news through media. I’ve heard countless grimaces of news outlets only mirroring crime, war and disaster. But I believe that reported news is a reflection of life. And while some of it can be exaggerated and exasperating, every headline is vital. In order to change the world, you must know what is going on within it.
Additionally, there are so many news mediums to consider. Personally, I listen to news radio in my car, watch CNN and MSNBC on television and read online outlets from the Internet. My all-time personal favorite news source is the newspaper, but I hardly ever get a chance to pick one up.
The last sector of resources for knowledge is places. Over the past year, I’ve done a lot of roaming through libraries and museums, in particular. The best thing about these places is that most of them are free! Plus, they were designed to offer a wealth of information about academics, culture, politics, lifestyle, history, etc. Furthermore, they provide information through several mediums like books, films, classes, Internet and exhibits. You can’t lose.
As I continue to journey through life as a mere student, I encourage you to get on board. Become a student of your own dreams. Learn something new – in the classroom, from individuals, through the media or at your local library. Don’t limit yourself. Knowledge is power, and powerful people accomplish their dreams.
Image retrieved from philadelphia.cbslocal.com.