July 13, 2024


Science It Works

Online education is a great way to keep the mind stimulated | Business

Well, we’re gradually coming out of hibernation, many of us twice the size we were a year ago, many of us alcoholics, and a lot of us have found new ways to climb walls we never thought we could climb.

And we’ve binge-watched an awful lot of TV, right? I know I still have to catch up on BoJack Horseman and might even be tempted to watch Breaking Bad all over again, but one thing I stumbled on over the past few months is online education.

It all started with CuriosityStream, which is a great website of all kinds of scientific videos, and then, while I was trucking, I got onto The Great Courses as audio books.

But since I’ve been back home, I enrolled in some courses at Central New Mexico Community College, which has many of its courses operating online now, at least for the duration of the pandemic.

Did you know that one of the known habits of wealthy and successful people is to choose education over entertainment? Look at it this way: When you’re being entertained, whether it’s live music, a movie or TV, or anything passive, your brain is coasting downhill.

It may be fun, it may be relaxing, but your mind is spending its resources on not actually gaining anything at all. It’s the mental equivalent of harvesting.

Education, on the other hand, is the mental equivalent of sowing seeds. It’s improving your mind, your knowledge, your thinking skills. It’s a huge investment in your time that pays off in all manner of ways.

And now, with so much online, you have so many new things to pick from. You want to learn guitar, at last, or get past the few riffs you’ve been playing since you were 17? There are video courses everywhere now that teach you every kind of musical instrument out there. Want to learn about investment? There’s a course for that.

I’ve wanted to learn to fly, and there’s an amazing video course that costs peanuts compared to what you’d pay in ground school fees, and you can even watch on your phone. Udemy has a ton of online courses. I’m signed up for music theory, too.

But our own Central New Mexico Community College will offer you courses you can use to upgrade your entire education. There’s no better time than now to enroll in a math course, an English course or something more specific to your interests and possible career change at some point down the line.

Check out its website and the huge list of courses. And if you want something practical and hands on, there are courses on everything from welding to aircraft maintenance, and truck driving, which I did a few years back, with great discounts that New Mexico offers its residents.

Many courses are online, of course, and you can certainly do the precursors to majors, which you’ll need before you advance. And remember, the fees aren’t huge. You can get government handouts if you can’t afford the courses, and you can claim their cost on your taxes.

Be smart! Get an education while this is going on. You won’t regret it.

Jack Lee is a truck driver, actor and is probably going to be a tour bus driver on the Plaza for the summer. He is writing a memoir, The Adventures of a Failed Actor, along with several self-help books focused on survival, trauma and finding the life you really want. Making It Through is a column by local workers and business people about the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.