The public perception of a person's path through Toronto education has for the longest time been "one then done," with every student following the same basic route: High school, post-secondary, and then onto the workforce, without a glance back. The idea of continuing education, or further education later in life carries certain stigmas around it which should be dispelled. There are many benefits to pursuing education further down the road. It can enhance your life, it can forward your career, and it can be done on your terms, without disturbing the life you already lead. Let's take a closer look at these benefits:
1) The world is changing, and it pays to keep up
Really, you should never stop learning. The world advances and evolves, and it can benefit you to stay current. More importantly, though, you may have to. As the times change, so does what you need to know to stay on the job. What you learned when you were in school may now be less relevant to your career, and keeping abreast of the technology and practices of your organization is a never-ending process.
If you're in engineering, or machines, or computing, or anything else involving technology, it's particularly essential to learn about the latest developments, and the practices that go with them. After all, if there's one constant to technology, it's that it's always changing. The good news is that with continuing education, you'll never have to fulfill the stereotype of the old-timer that doesn't understand the gadgets that kids are using. It's entirely possible to stay on top of technology. Furthermore, there's a social good to be done. If you know best practices, you can contribute positively to society, particularly if you're in education or personal care. College education can ensure you're up to date with those best practices.
2) You can get a whole new career, or augment your existing one
Even when it isn't essential, keeping up to date can get you noticed in your workplace. If you're any sort of professional, an educational certification specifically stating that you're knowledgeable about the latest standards and practices can provide true proof of that professionalism. You could see promotions, pay raises, or even brand new opportunities.
Or maybe you're tired of your current job, and want to get into something you can be passionate about, or where there's more room for advancement. After all, industries like hospitality are rapidly growing, and you can use your education to specifically go where the jobs are.
But this doesn't have to be about your job, or advancing your career, or even money. Maybe you're not interested in changing that. And that's fine, because…
3) It can be for your personal growth, too
You don't have to be enrolled simply for the sake of your career. Maybe there's something you're passionate about that you want to learn more of, like how to fix your car, or dancing, or even another language. Or perhaps you want to keep your mind sharp, or get out and socialize with people that share your interests. Whether you're a beginner, or an expert looking to update their knowledge, there's room for every interest. And you can find room for it too, since…
4) You don't have to give up years of your life, or your job.
A good college program will understand your needs: You need money to keep living, and cutting your job out to go back to school makes the financially-savvy side of you twitch a little bit. A good post-grad curriculum doesn't have to follow the traditional class structure. You could participate in single-day workshops, or weekly ones, or single specific classes. And those classes can be in the evening, or on weekends, perfect for your 9-5 workday. Aside from variable class times, there's even another option entirely…
5) You don't have to physically go back, either.
It turns out you no longer need to literally go back to school to go back to school. Maybe it's the commute, or time, or the location, but if the idea of dragging yourself down to a classroom isn't appealing, there's distance learning, where you won't have to put your job or career or family or personal commitments on hold.
With distance learning, you can keep working, and have an academic workload you can shift around as necessary. Online learning is led by a professional instructor, same as a class. You can access the online classroom 24-7, and access course materials and assignments when you have the time. There's even Correspondence or Print-based courses if you're taking it offline.
Centennial College's School of Continuing Education can give you the chance to upgrade your job or life skills, with its selection of flexible, practical programs. Whether in the classroom or through distance learning, you'll be connected to professionals with real-world experience, ready to pass their benefits on to you. It's never to late to learn, and the school is flexible enough to teach you on your own terms. Have a look at its programs, and let them guide you through the next step of your lifelong learning experience.
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Jason White offers guides, advice, and philosophy for new and returning college students, with a focus on Centenial College's offerings. Areas of focus include alternative methods of education, education's role in finding you a job and misconceptions about post-secondary schooling.
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