It’s Back to School Time – For the Grown-ups

Photo by Beth Shepherd Peters 

by Fionn Zarubica

No, it is not too late, you can go back and experience the excitement and anticipation you experienced as child at the beginning of the school year – the joy of a fresh start, of learning and hope in the future – whenever you want.

As we step forward into the 21st century one of the wonderful things that is going away is the belief that there is no chance to redo, retool, retry.

The paradigm has shifted.

In response to this shift. we find ourselves asking if we really love what we do, if we love the way we do it and if we need to do it because we used to like to do it or thought we should do it.  We wonder if we cannot radically change direction, follow a passion or get back into the game after raising a family; if a university degree is the only measure of our potential – or if the degree we have even serves our potential.  We have begun to notice that what we were told to be afraid of is nonsense while what we were told to trust is no longer functional and that the old methodologies do not apply.

Companies and institutions are unwittingly aiding us in asking these questions as they increasingly reduce pay and permanent staffing, while continuing to cling to old models of operation and expectation.

So what is the answer?  Simple, cozy up to impermanence and find ways to grow and learn that do not rely on old structures or outmoded social mores.

For Americans this is not news, we have long embraced entrepreneurship and non-traditional approaches to learning and career success.  Some of the greatest American successes have been individuals who never finished their education such as Industrialist Henry Ford, oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, astronaut John Glenn, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, author and witticist Mark Twain, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Physicist Albert Einstein and more.  But, while the proof has always always been there, acceptance of the possibilities had not quite spread to the rest of the world – until now.

Why now?  Because there is no longer a choice in the matter.  The old models are not working, traditional safety nets are gone and the evidence is mounting that efforts to keep things the way they always were is destroying what was beautiful about what was, and preventing the emergence of what could be – something healthier and far more sustainable.

America was founded by individuals who did not choose to be defined by the society or class they were born into or to follow the rules.  Individuals who were willing to risk all and try and try and try again until they brought their vision of themselves into focus.

Having lived abroad and worked with students of museology in the United States, Europe, Australia and the near and far East for the last several years, I have begun to see an increase in individuals who come into my classroom with eyes dancing and hardly contained excitement about the choices they are beginning to realize they have; individuals who are starting to dream, who want a first, second and third chance at doing what they love. They want to believe that they can paint their own canvas, check their own boxes, change direction, overthrow convention on a whim and experience their lives more fully; and they want to believe that they can do that at any point they choose.

Here’s the good news:  They can!  We can! You can!

This is where continuing education enters the picture.  Today, we have choices.  Today we can reach out and get involved with things that not only interest us but create opportunities for us.  We can seek information wherever it pleases us and wherever we find the information offered to be of value.  We can choose our teachers and our learning circumstances.

Continuing education is just that, a continuation from the starting point we find ourselves in.  A possibility expander – a limit buster!

Who Would Benefit From Continuing Education? 

Individuals who wish to:

  • Learn new skills or improve existing ones
  • Re-career
  • Enter or re-enter the job market at an unconventional time in life
  • Explore a subject of interest
  • Meet and study with people from around the world
  • Learn an internationally marketable and current trade

Eight Questions To Ask Yourself 

  1. Are you wondering what it would be like to change careers or career goals?
  2. Do you dream of starting over?
  3. Do you want to know more about something that interests you?
  4. Would you like to design your own curriculum?
  5. Can you let go of what you thought you wanted to pursue for the sake of what you love?
  6. Are you willing to fail?
  7. Are you willing to get back up and try again?
  8. Do you think you can make a difference?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then continuing education might be for you.

It is never too late to start over or to grow and the possibilities are limitless. You are the creator of your story – your joy is your success; and experiencing joy filled success is entirely in your power.

It is time to do what you love – because, love is all that matters!

Fifty Highly Successful People Who Never Finished Their Formal Education

  1. Paul Allen Founder of Microsoft
  2. Tom Anderson – Founder of MySpace
  3. Carl Bernstein – Washington Post reporter
  4. Richard Branson – Founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Records
  5. Andrew Carnegie – Industrialist
  6. Winston Churchill – Prime Minister of England
  7. Grover Cleveland – President of the United States
  8. Christopher Columbus – Explorer
  9. Charles Dickens – Author
  10. George Eastman – Founder of Eastman Kodak
  11. Larry Ellison – Founder of Oracle
  12. William Faulkner – Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner
  13. Enzo Ferrari – Founder of Ferrari
  14. Carly Fiorina – CEO of Hewlett Packard
  15. Henry Ford – Founder of Ford Motor Company
  16. Benjamin Franklin – U.S. Ambassador
  17. Robert Frost – Poet
  18. Buckminster Fuller – Futurist and Inventor
  19. Bill Gates – Founder of Microsoft
  20. Paul Getty – Founder of Getty Oil
  21. John Glenn – Astronaut; U.S. Senator
  22. Barry Goldwater – U.S. Senator
  23. Peter Jackson – Movie director (Lord of the Rings)
  24. TD Jakes – Pastor
  25. Peter Jennings – News anchor for ABC
  26. Steve Jobs – Founder of Apple
  27. Andrew Johnson – President of the United States
  28. Ray Kroc – Founder of McDonald’s
  29. Ralph Lauren – Fashion designer and Entrepreneur
  30. Doris Lessing – Nobel Prize recipient in Literature
  31. Abraham Lincoln – President of the United States
  32. Jack London – Author
  33. John Major – Prime Minister of England
  34. Florence – Nightingale Nurse
  35. Joel Osteen – Pastor
  36. John D. Rockefeller – Founder of Standard Oil
  37. Karl Rove – Presidential advisor
  38. George Bernard – Shaw Playwright
  39. Li Ka Shing – Wealthiest man in Asia
  40. Ringo Starr – Beatle
  41. Quentin Tarantino – Movie director
  42. Zachary Taylor – President of the United States
  43. Dave Thomas – Founder of Wendy’s
  44. Harry Truman – President of the United States
  45. Ted Turner – Founder of CNN
  46. Mark Twain – Author
  47. Leon Uris – Author
  48. George Washington – President of the United States
  49. Steve Wozniak – Founder of Apple
  50. Mark Zuckerberg – Founder of Facebook

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