It’s hard to tell who’s more excited about the start of a new school year – my children or me.
While every new season and every new day bring a fresh start, there’s something extra special about the fall.
Maybe it’s the combination of a new school year, a new football season (full disclosure: I work for the company that brings you NFL Sunday Ticket) and a new world of possibilities.
You get the benefit of a new start, without the pressure to make resolutions that a new year brings.
Fall is the perfect time for kids of all ages to recommit to learning. Here are my favorite ideas for learning something new this season.
Go online. Your professional association probably offers a myriad of on-demand webinars. I’ve been working on my APR recertification through the PRSA website, with sessions like Digital News Releases, Twitter PR Secrets and Media Pitching for 2015.
And one of the exciting things about the company that acquired my employer this summer is the access to hundreds of online courses through AT&T University.
Go the library. My neighborhood library has a great section of new releases when you walk in the door. I can stock up on all the latest books with a swipe of my library card.
I just finished Daniel Levitin’s The Organized Mind, with strategies for “thinking straight in the age of information overload.” Because our brains can’t keep track of all the stimuli that bombard us, it helps to set up systems to get information out of our heads and into external storage systems. This premise also reminded me to read the refreshed version of David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
And when my brain really needs a break, there’s nothing like the charming reading room at the Malaga Cove Library. Reading, reflecting, thinking or just chilling out are the perfect activities in this historical landmark built in 1929.
Go back to school. Whether it’s a MOOC or a university extension class or a local community college, there are lots of options. This may be my next strategy for learning Spanish, especially because I need an accountability mechanism!
And going back to school doesn’t necessarily mean doing so as a student. You can learn just as much by teaching a course – the process of distilling your thoughts into a structured framework can be an invaluable learning experience.
Mix up your exercise routine. My evening walks and treadmill sessions just earned me a New Zealand badge, according to a congratulatory email from Fitbit. But besides actually wanting to travel there sometime this decade, I’d like to experiment with some new forms of exercise.
This seemed like the perfect weekend to try Cardio Barre and stand up paddle boarding. And I loved them both. My mind recalled my years of ballet training much better than my body did, so I’ll have get up to speed on the barre over a bit more time.
The mind/body connection between exercise and the brain is fascinating, as Gretchen Reynold explores in her “Phys Ed” column in the New York Times.
Be a tourist in your own town. It’s easy to get complacent and not take advantage of all your city or town has to offer. My husband and I started the holiday weekend with a favorite walk around the Lake Hollywood reservoir.
Our reward afterwards was the Urth Caffe, where we talked about fun things we could do this fall and winter, like go to a few college football games and finally see the Rose Parade in person.
And my good colleague Katie Jenks gave me a great lead on a comedy club. A good laugh is just the thing to put life into perspective and making the living much more fun!