Overhead student

Are You Still Living in the Educational Stone Age?

Once upon a time, there was a clear-cut path that everyone was supposed to follow. You’ve heard the story: go to college, get a degree. Then head off to start a lifelong, fulfilling career in your chosen field and pay off your student loans—happily ever after, the end.

Has it ever really been that simple? 

Things don’t always go as planned. You’ve seen it in the people you know. An uncle starting over in life when he thought he’d be settling down. A graduate friend drowning in student debt but still unable to find a job.

Does Keeping up Seem Impossible?

Trying to keep pace with our changing world can feel like trying to outrun a hyperactive cheetah. 

You want to advance your career and progress in life, but you don’t know where to begin. You want to get more education, boost your skills, and stretch further than you ever have before. You want to invest in yourself.

But you don’t want to invest years of time and mountains of resources and end up still behind. 

The Good News: There’s a Better Way

You don’t have to race a cheetah to get ahead in life. The truth is much simpler—and doesn’t require as much cardio.

The “traditional path” does bring success for some people, but it isn’t the only way to succeed. We live in a time of unprecedented educational opportunities. Many of them are accessible even on a modest budget.

If this is your first step into the modern era of learning, here are a few ideas to get you started.

6 Awesome Resources for Affordable Education

Student Desk

1. Books

Except for a few Hermione Granger types out there, books are no longer our first choice for learning. Some see them as outdated, inconvenient, or lacking interactivity. But books are valuable as your main source or a supplement to other learning methods.

Whether you need to learn C# or brush up on your Portuguese, there’s a book for that. Between libraries, online bookstores, and e-readers, you can dip your toes into a new subject without a huge investment.

So crack a spine, breathe in that fresh book smell, and start learning.

2. Online Courses

Online courses are gaining steam in countless areas: programming, writing, finance, even yoga. Whatever your budget or skill level, there are courses that will help you move forward. 

Popular platforms for courses include Udemy, YouTube, and Coursera. You can also find high-quality courses made by private individuals and companies—like us! Famous Brains offers training in our own industry: web development and software engineering. 

In future posts, we’ll discuss how to select and get the most out of online courses. For now, the bottom line is that online learning can give you a huge skill-boost in a convenient format.

3. Community Classes 

If you prefer learning with others, community classes are a perfect place to start. 

When I was a pre-teen, I took a community class to learn basic CPR and babysitting skills. It only cost me $20 and a Saturday, and it was more than worth it. I left the class prepared to start my own neighborhood babysitting business. 

Community learning is a great way to build friendships, get real-time feedback, and share accountability. So check out your library, town hall, or community center. You may be surprised at the opportunities available right in your home town. 

4. Certification Programs

Certification programs can advance your current career, or even help you start a new one. Especially in the IT industry, the right certifications can open a whole world of job opportunities.

A variety of certificate programs are available online, at colleges and universities, and through private companies. These programs are typically shorter than a traditional degree and prepare you to apply your new skills right away. 

5. Traditional Education

I know, I know—we’re talking about nontraditional options here. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for traditional education in the modern world. 

If you feel drawn to traditional education, it’s worth digging into all your options. Distance learning and accelerated programs are becoming common. Plus, more schools now offer experiential credit for what you already know.

Traditional education can still be valuable. And if you do your homework before you commit, you can save yourself a lot of the “traditional” stress and student debt.

6. Experts in Your Field

In Ye Olde Days, apprenticeships were the norm for almost every occupation. Now, only a fraction of the workforce learns this way. 

Even today, expert insights are priceless. Working with someone who knows your trade can put your career into warp speed. Expert friends can give you guidance from first-hand experience.

And don’t worry—you don’t have to sign your next five years over to the village blacksmith. If you don’t have connections yet, start looking! Trade shows, conferences, and other networking events are ideal settings for meeting experts in your field.

Where Will Learning Take You?

Man Reading Outside

Running Smarter, Not Harder

Learning will help you navigate this fast-paced, changing world. Remember that hyperactive cheetah? If you keep trying to outrun it, you’ll end up frantic and exhausted. Education can offer you out-of-the-box solutions for your life’s unique challenges. 

There are countless opportunities for growth all around you. Learning will increase your confidence, open your mind, and help you advance your career. 

And learning is a perfect guilt-free hobby. 

One Small Step Today, A Giant Leap for Your Future

It’s time to take charge of your life’s story. Set aside some time to think about your career and goals, then plot the educational course that’s right for you. But remember—you don’t have to know every destination to take the first step. Sometimes getting started is half the battle.

Once you begin your educational journey, you’ll discover all the ways learning will improve your life and career. And you don’t have to stop there. Becoming a lifelong learner is all about continuing curiosity.

As for me? My next step on the learning journey includes brushing up on Excel. And also a hunt for the perfect gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe. It may involve some extensive recipe sampling, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

The world is at your fingertips—what do you want to learn next?