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The Value of Ongoing Education

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It’s at this time of year, when the kids go back to school and college courses start that we instinctively feel the need to be studying. As I watch my own daughters come home from school, open their books and notebooks, and feverishly write notes, I have a pang of envy for those days. I loved college. I loved learning, studying, and immersing myself in books.

Today, it’s never been easier or more convenient to learn from home thanks to online learning opportunities where you can study a plethora of university level courses, you can even master computer engineering online, today, which makes the academic playing field a little more accessible for stay at home moms, or those juggling family life with a busy job.

You’ll have likely come across the saying “the more you learn, the more you earn”, and while this is true in most careers, the benefits of continuing education are not limited solely to financial gain.

The expansion in terms of your own personal development and the impact continuing education has on your confidence is a great reason to learn, irrespective of career and financial gain. It’s also a great way to be a role model to your children, as kids tend to do what you do rather than what you say - meaning, if you are showing them the importance of making the time to study, they are much more likely to respect it when you tell them to sit down and do their homework.

In addition, there’s a feeling of internal power that comes from making progress with anything in life, yet academic courses are particularly good for this, as they are structured and graded in such a way that you can see you are making tangible progress; whereas if it’s something you are learning yourself, by yourself, it’s hard to gauge and track your progress.

In addition to self-esteem and the sense of personal pride that comes from making progress, there are many financial benefits to consider. When you think about the formula for making money, it’s actually pretty simple, in that people tend to be compensated based on the value they create for another party - be that an employer, a client,     or a customer.

Therefore, if you want to make more money, you simply need to create more value - and one of the best ways to create more value is to gain more knowledge and know-how that you can ultimately trade for higher paid work.

As adults, however, it can be a good idea to look at education with more of an entrepreneurial mindset than that which children tend to have - in that you need to look at the return on investment a particular course will provide. Studying philosopy, for example, might be an enjoyable and worthwhile pursuit. However, as an adult, education tends to be a significant investment in both money and time, and it must provide a return. In some ways, therefore, somebody going to college and studying to be an electrician or graphic designer might provide more value in the labor market than a Ph.D. in Philosophy for instance.

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