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There are two types of people in this world:

1. People who like to learn new things.
2. People who don’t.

I fall into the second category. It’s hard for me to learn new things. I’m not a good student, and I don’t have the attention span or the desire to sit through a lesson and admit that I’m a beginner.

So, keeping that in mind, I’m enrolled in a bunch of new courses. Today I’m back in Boston meeting with Public Words to work on storytelling and a grand plan. I’m back in Pilates, slowly working on the basics so I can potentially pursue certification. I’m enrolled in an MBSR course that starts at the end of the month. And I’m also all over online classes to catch up on how to run a start-up.

It turns out, my instincts were right about the online coursework. Can’t sit through the video lessons, and most of the stuff is business 101 that I learned the hard way by running my LFR consultancy. Also, I can’t always remember business acronyms and abbreviated jargon. Can’t we just say the words out loud?

But, the IRL courses aren’t too bad.

Being an adult student in a classroom setting requires more rigor than being a kid and plopping into a crappy wooden desk. It goes without saying that you need to turn off your electronic devices, but I truly need to power mine down and leave them in the car. Sorry if something bad happens while I’m refining my teaser, yo, but this blogger has big plans for her life!

Also, I have to tell everybody that I’m taking classes to apply social pressure to myself to complete the coursework. Note this blog post, please. If you’re like me, you’ll need to tell everybody from strangers to homeless people just to keep yourself accountable. I had a pleasant conversation with a barista about being a better storyteller, but I caught myself relaying an anecdote and not actually telling a story. I’ve learned something!

Finally, I have to remind myself that being an adult student is no big deal. People learn all of the time without throwing a parade or patting themselves on the back. Let’s de-escalate this venerated notion that being a lifelong student is special. It’s normal. If you live and breathe, you ultimately learn something.

I’m envious of people who can jump into new experiences, learn cool things, and demonstrate personal growth. Maybe that’s you, and I’m totally jealous. It’s fabulous that being a lifelong learner is easy for you. I’m trying to follow your lead and enroll myself in classes and endeavors that will pay dividends.

I just can’t do it through MOOCs or YouTube videos.

2 Responses to On Being an Adult Student
  1. vicster

    I’ve been hitting the online class buffet pretty hard lately: a grant writing course, a copy editing course, a creative writing course, and a yoga teacher training course in restorative yoga (a full, in-person, YTT will be happening at some point, but I’ve got some Life Stuff I need to settle first).

    If the last several years have taught me anything, it’s that I have to keep feeding my curiosity (or refreshing my skills), otherwise really bad things start happening with my brain.

    I’ve bookmarked Public Words, and am curious to hear how the MBSR goes!

  2. Salma

    Hey Laurie, You mentioned two great things1) its hard as you grow up to keep learning because life gets in the way and (2) telling it to people to create accountability.

    I wish we had a constant level of motivation but I think it has its peaks and troughs that’s when you end up paying coursera money since you were over zealous to enroll but it waned later to actually make you complete the course on time.

    I want to add a third thing – know motivation will waver at that point go to pt (2) and add pressure from peers and not to beat yourself up when things dont go as planned – that’s really the adult thing to do plan and if they dont work, change something and try again.