I had a Whatsapp conversation with one of my young friends a few nights ago that took me way back to my community college days. The summer was ending and all my friends were moving on to university while I had to get a job because things were … complicated.
They were excited about the courses they’d be taking, the hall (dorm) they’d be on and which friend from school would be their dorm-mate. While they were picking out notebooks and things for their dorm room, I was busy writing resumes and dropping them off door-to-door.
My heart bled for this young girl when she told me that she wasn’t going to university this year because “it was complicated”. Especially since I knew her best friend was ensconced on hall waiting for school to begin.
Sad to say, one of the things that happen to young adults who have to go to work to “earn their tuition”, is that they never get to go back to school.
Too often they get “stuck” in the working world. Sometimes they start a family before realizing their dreams thus permanently putting that hope of obtaining a degree on hold.
But is there hope for a young person in this situation?
I don’t have all the answers but here’s what I wish I had known when my circumstances had been “complicated”.
1. Never stop learning – Keep the books that you used in school. Use them to keep the material fresh in your brain. Go to the library; keep building on your knowledge. Today there are so many options for learning: there are online universities that offer free courses. These are commonly known as MOOCSs which means Massive Open Online Courses. Some even offer the option to take a test and pay for your certification.
I will list a few of them here but I want you to understand that there’s a lot of information out there. In fact if you go to www.mooc-list.com you will find a long list of upcoming courses (for the next 30 days), their start date and the MOOC that offers it. Courses are also rated out of ten by users.
www.Coursera.org - Access free courses from over 140 top universities including Harvard, Yale and Penn State. Courses are available in a variety of languages including French, Spanish and Chinese. Students have the option to pay for certification. Courses may be taken in faculties ranging from Arts & Humanities to Life Sciences to Personal Development. They even offer financial aid which you can apply for.
www.Alison.com – Currently offers over 750 courses. Certificates can be paid for which will carry the Alison seal. They occasionally offer a sale on parchments when you can get 20% off your first certificate. Courses range from business and entrepreneurial skills to personal development and soft skills.
www.EdX.org – Users can sign up to take courses from MIT, Harvard, Linux, Microsoft. Once again courses are available free but a certificate may be obtained by paying a small fee.
www.Ted.com - While Ted Talks is not a traditional MOOC, it does provide the opportunity for you to learn something new. Individuals provide their expertise in the areas of technology, entertainment or design in the form of a talk. It is a good opportunity to learn from the experience of others.
I would suggest that you set some time aside each day that is devoted to sharpening your skills or learning something new. Most of the courses will indicate the minimum commitment required so that you are able to budget that time.
2. Invest in yourself – Do short courses. True you may not be able to do what you dreamed of doing, but knowledge is never wasted. By trying something outside of your skillset you may be surprised to find that you discover a new talent or a new gift.Tweet: Not being able to go to university with your friends is no reason to turn your back on God. http://bit.ly/2bVJig5
3. It’s not God’s fault – God is not doing anything to you. He loves you and he would never want anything bad to happen to you. We have to remember that sometimes the path that we choose for ourselves is not necessarily the path that he would have chosen for you.
Not being able to go to university with your friends is no reason to turn your back on God.
Instead seek his face. Chase after God with your whole heart. Read his word. Study it. Spend time praying. Take a few theology courses (check out www.biblicaltraining.org or www.christianunversity.org)
As I wrap up this post I want to leave you with one final thought: The internet is good for more than just socializing.
There’s a whole lot of knowledge that can be gleaned from YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook and the works…. (There are way too many social media tools to name here).
Use them to enhance your marketability and not your sociability.
Read good blogs. Watch good programs. Play brain games. Challenge yourself to keep the brain limber and in shape. After all the brain is a muscle – if you don’t use it you lose it.