Okay, so obviously the most ideal way to get an education in most fields is to go to college, and for many jobs out, it is required. But let’s face it, there are so many fields out there. If you’re like me, you have so many interests that it is impossible for you to get a college education in all of your interests.
Also, many people are not in a position to go to college at the moment.
Here are a few ideas for getting an education outside of the school system:
The Internet has an endless supply of phenomenal information in thousands of fields. You’ve just got to know where to look for it. Here are a few sites I like – (maybe not Ph.D material, but interesting stuff nonetheless):
- http://google.com – good ol’ Google search. You can learn just about anything with that… *
- http://www.youtube.com/edu – you know about Youtube. Well, this is a branch of Youtube that specializes in good educational material. Not just anyone can get stuff on here, so it’s a big step up from regular Youtube, and it’s a fun source of learning in all kinds of fields.
- http://www.ted.com/ – again, not a place to earn a degree, but if you want to get excited about learning, this is a fun place to go. TED is a collection of fascinating lectures (yes, lectures CAN be fascinating!) that give an interesting perspective on various fields.
- http://www.openculture.com/2007/07/freeonlinecourses.html – if you prefer getting your information from reputable colleges, here’s a directory of podcasts that are done by colleges such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, etc. Just putter around the site to find the subject you’re looking for.
- Check the Thrift Stores: As soon as a book becomes obsolete (by college standards that can mean the book has been published for a year and a half and now the photos in the book need to be reorganized), the thrift stores such as D.I. fill up with college textbooks. After I paid nearly $100 for an astronomy book in college, I found a stack of twenty of them at D.I. the next semester for two bucks a piece. Ugh… but that’s good for people who are wanting an education outside of school.
- Libraries: They’re still around, believe it or not. In this “Google any question” era that we live in, this is easy to forget. Pick a topic, go to the library, and read all you can on the subject.
- School libraries: Most school libraries are open to the public. You may not be able to check things out without a student card, but you can read what you want while you’re there, and if you take your digital camera, you can get instant copies of pages you want to read more about.
This is NOT a comprehensive list. Fill us in! What ways have you found for educating yourself on different topics?
* Clearly there is a lot of junk out there, and one of the great purposes of education is to train you to recognize credibility and bias. You need to learn to check the sources on information. Just because it sounds legit, or the information is worded in an educated manner doesn’t mean the content is of any real value. The best lies are coated in great disguises. So check your sources!