New Year, New You: 4 reasons to become a lifelong learner for the New Year

Learning a new skill in 2024 could benefit your mind, career, mental health and social life

It’s the time of year when you’re probably thinking about ways you can improve yourself and your well-being. If you’re looking for a resolution that benefits your mind, career, mental health and social life, making a goal to learn at least one new skill in this year could drastically improve your life.

The benefit of lifelong learning is well documented and researched. Lifelong learning is the continued educational experience that utilizes non-credit academic courses, educational travel and community service to fully engage the brain, heighten physical activity and maintain healthy social relationships.

Communiversity at the University of Cincinnati offers noncredit classes for personal enrichment. Classes are held in the evening, on weekends, online and tailored with the adult learner in mind. Taught by UC educators, experts and artisans from the Cincinnati area, they bring the passion for their topics to the classroom, offering you endless opportunities to develop, grow and learn something new.

So, what motivates lifelong learners and why should you get on board? From improving your well-being and mental health to helping you create new relationships, lifelong learning offers a wide array of benefits no matter your age. Here are four reasons to build the foundation of becoming a lifelong learner in the New Year:

  • Lifelong learning is good for your brain, mental well-being and self-esteem.
  • Continued education can lead to beneficial career advancements.
  • Taking new classes will help you gain practical skills.
  • Exploring new passions help you connect with like-minded individuals.

1. It’s good for your brain and your mental health.

You can keep your brain healthy and alert by learning new skills or taking a continuing education class at the University of Cincinnati. Research shows mental activity could stave off age-related cognitive and memory decline. Lifelong learning can also enhance self-esteem while giving you a sense of purpose and hope and feelings of competency. So just the simple — and hopefully joyful — act of enrolling in a class could help your brain function, mental health, as well as grow your self-esteem.

2. It could lead to beneficial career advancements.

The landscape of the workforce is forever changing and becoming a lifelong learner is one the best things you can do to increase your employability. Show your employer that you’re willing to adapt and continuously learn new skills by taking a new class time in your free time. If you’re not ready to pursue a graduate certificate or master’s degree, you can dabble in a noncredit course to explore a new passion or learn a new skill. From a Basic Photography class to a Video Conferencing course, Communiversity at UC has a robust catalogue of offerings for you to explore.

3. It will help you develop practical skills.

Have you always wanted to become fluent in another language, but you don’t know where to start? Are you jealous of your friends who cook decadent meals when you’re afraid to pick up a spatula? Whether you’re looking to build on a skill you already have or explore a topic that is completely new to you, continued education can help you develop practical skills that will enrich all aspects of your life. Communiversity courses explore dozens of skills including:

  • Tennis
  • How to sell your home
  • Introductory language classes to French, Spanish and German
  • Guitar for beginners
  • Sponge painting
  • Calligraphy
  • Intentional journaling
  • Dining etiquette

4. When you find your passion, you find your people.

Studies find that people are hard-wired to look for relationships with “like-minded people,” meaning that they have similar interests. Other studies have also found that individuals bond over passions for hobbies and rare interests. You could find a new group of friends bonding over your shared interest in cheesemaking or while practicing your French accent. Communiversity classes give you an easy way to meet others that you have something in common with. Discussions are open and fun while everyone participates in the learning experience together.