Back before the big technology boom, having a four-year degree under your belt would usually provide enough weight for your career. Sticking to the same job until you retired was considered normal, and going back to school was unheard of. Now it’s completely normal to switch careers, move jobs every two years, and even go back to school when you want to learn something completely new.
But what if going back to school isn’t an option? While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting another degree, but there are plenty of other ways to educate yourself without one. Whether you’re thinking of changing careers, improving your knowledge about your current industry, or are simply tired of only being able to passionately discuss the latest Netflix binge, here are twenty two incredibly simple ways you can learn without having to go back to school.
1. Listen to a financial podcast
Getting your money in order can be as easy as downloading a podcast episode to your phone. Whether it’s for your business or your personal life, make sure to save the episodes you like so you can go back and listen to them again. Which one are we loving? Ashley C. Ford’s new podcast with MasterCard, Fortune Favors the Bold.
2. Forget happy hour and take a pottery or painting class with your friend
When art school is out of the question, opt to take a few classes in your hometown with your bestie. From pottery to painting while you drink wine, you can learn how to create art and flex your creative muscles on your own time.
3. Cold email someone you admire and ask them for an informational interview
If you want to learn from the best, there’s nothing wrong with connecting with someone who you admire from afar. Cold email them to see if they’re available for an informational interview. While it might be scary to put yourself out there, the worst thing they can say is no.
4. Learn how to speak Spanish while you do the dishes
Make your chores a little more enticing by downloading an app where you can learn another language — like Duolingo — to multitask while you do mundane things like washing the dishes or folding laundry.
5. Make an effort to listen to the news every day
Instead of turning on your favorite playlist, make an effort to subscribe to a news update podcast. Luckily, there are so many avenues on how to do just this that range in length and topic. Any podcast from NPR would be a great place to start.
6. Learn how to edit a video on YouTube
Whether you’re thinking about becoming a filmmaker or want to make your Instagram Stories cool AF, YouTube has thousands of videos that will help you learn to edit, color correct, and shoot the video of your dreams.
7. Take an online course
If you have the funds to invest in yourself, it’s never a bad idea to subscribe to an online membership community where you learn anything and everything from how to write a script to how to be more productive. Our favorite? Skillshare has a variety of classes ranging in times and difficulty to help you get your education on.
8. Turn off Netflix and listen to a Ted Talk instead
While Netflix sounds enticing the minute you get home from a long day, you can learn a thing or two if you watch a Ted Talk instead. Grab a notepad and pen, get your snacks in a row, and spend a few hours watching at least two to three Ted Talks a week.
9. Join a Facebook group for freelancers
When you’re yearning for a community of like-minded individuals, you can join a Facebook group to learn and grow from people who either have similar if not more experience than you. Freelancing Females, for instance, is a community that’s not only made for women but will also help them learn how to grow their business and freelancing careers.
10. Brush up on your history in the car
Instead of listening to the radio — which normally repeats the same songs over and over again anyway — opt to relive your high school days by listening to a few history-based podcasts in your car. One of our favorites? Stuff You Missed in History Class.
11. Read a new book at least once a month
Whether you’re part of a book club or not, reading a book at least once a month will make you feel like a well-read person. Hold yourself accountable by reading at least 20 minutes a day so you can complete the book before the end of the month arrives. Check out our reading lists for inspiration.
12. Get off Instagram and go to a museum
Why look at digital art and nature when you can physically go to a museum to explore both of those things that have been collected around the world? While you’re there, pay the extra cash to join a group or listen via headset so an expert can teach the significance of each piece of art and/or animal.
13. Sign up for newsletters that provide daily tutorial or tips
If you don’t have time to search for the latest news or teachings, let all of it come directly to you. Newsletters — like theSkimm — will send you daily emails about things that have been going on in the world. They categorize multiple topics so you can just scroll to the one you’re interested in the most.
14. Sign up for a webinar on how to begin your business
Webinars are a great avenue to explore when you’re not able to attend an actual event, or you want to connect with others via webcam. Most webinars are hosted by people who have a lot of experience in their related field and are willing to teach for a small price. Plus, during webinars, you’re able to directly ask these people questions to gain all the knowledge you need.
15. Take your cooking skills to the next level by following food accounts on Twitter (and recreating the recipes)
Twitter is another great social media site that can help you learn something new every day. Incorporate food accounts to find drool-worthy recipes and set aside one night a week (or month) to try a new recipe that’s completely out of your comfort zone. Our go-to account? Bon Appétit usually knocks it out of the park.
16. Subscribe to local magazines to learn about the community
While the print industry might not be doing as well as we hope, you can still purchase a few local magazines to learn what’s going on around in your community to give you the 411 on latest events, politics, or culture. You can also try subscribing to local facebook groups or using the app Nextdoor.
17. Watch an Instagram Story about how to take a picture
If you’re planning on spending hours on Instagram, you might as well learn a skill why you do it, right? Photographers and influencers usually share how they take and edit their photographs and save them on the “highlights” section of their accounts. For instance, @annstreetstudio will not only show you how she edits, but also how to shoot manually and frame each shot. Interested in taking better travel photos? Read an expert’s advice here.
18. Watch documentaries on your day off
When it’s just too cold to go to a museum or to a fun art class, you can stay at home and watch a documentary. Netflix has hundreds of them to choose from. Plus, documentaries’ runtimes usually lean on the shorter side, so you could probably squeeze a few in throughout the night.
19. Travel to another country to learn about their culture
This one is a bit more of a long term goal, but never underestimate the lessons that travel has to offer. Immersing yourself in another culture that’s unlike your own is a great way to learn about another country and expand your horizon. Connect with the locals, try to learn their language, and enjoy their food. The longer you stay (and the less you rely on your phone), the more you absorb.
20. Bookmark (and actually read) educational articles on Pinterest
Pinterest is not only good for those times when you want to figure out how you want to plan your wedding or furnish your room, but it’s also a great source to bookmark educational reads that you may find across the web. Create a new folder and pin articles, videos, or interviews on the topic you’re interested in so you don’t ever have to worry about where you saved your inspiration.
21. Turn off your phone games and download The New York Times app
If you only want to know about the breaking news, opt to download The New York Times app. It will send you daily notifications of newsworthy topics that are imperative to know. Perfect for the gal who wants to stay current, but doesn’t always have the time to sit and read at her laptop.
22. Follow science Instagram accounts
Switch up your feed with accounts that will teach you something new. For instance, NASA is a great account that tells you about their latest ventures and what is happening in a galaxy far, far away.