College is the perfect time to start fresh. Now that you’re in a new place, likely making new friends, and starting a new chapter of your life, you might find yourself ready to take on some other new things.
Learning a new skill has a host of benefits, and when you decide to take on something new, you’re training your brain to know how to “keep learning” even after you’ve left school. When you graduate college, you’re really only getting started—we keep learning our entire lives! Not only that, but it’s really good for your brain to keep learning new things—particularly as you get older!
We’ve compiled a list of the benefits that come with learning a new skill. Read on and get inspired!
Your brain benefits
Learning new things forms brand new neural pathways and increased the amount of myelin you have in your brain—a mixture of proteins and phospholipids forming a whitish insulating sheath around many nerve fibers, increasing the speed at which impulses are conducted. As you continue to learn new things, your brain makes new connections and simultaneously gets better and better at learning as you go.
So essentially, learning one new skill makes the next new skill even easier to learn. Your brain gets smarter and smarter as it goes!
You become a more well-rounded person
Ever been at a party and felt like you had absolutely nothing to talk about? By getting involved with some sort of new hobby or picking up a new skill, you’ll be setting yourself up for conversation starters—a new class or the fact that you just took up the violin or are learning how to garden is prime real estate for chatting it up at a get-together.
Learning new things can also make you a lot more relatable. You might find that you have something in common with other people now that you’ve learned a new thing or two. Taking up a fresh and unfamiliar hobby can reveal a shared enjoyment for the same pastime, and it will certainly help others identify with what your life is like—and vice versa!
You’re less likely to get dementia
While this may not be a major concern for you at the ripe age of 19, it’s an important element to keep in mind as you get older. Learning new skills has been proven to regularly decrease the risk of dementia onset. Dementia is linked to the demyelination of your brain, and as we learned earlier, learning new things only increases myelin.
So keep your nerve impulses fresh and keep on learning the new things!
Your confidence will increase
As you learn new things, your confidence and personal sense of self-efficacy might get a little boost. Whether or not you learn something quickly or over the course of a few months or years, once you’ve mastered a particular skill, you’ll more than likely feel proud of what you’ve accomplished—your self-esteem will more than likely be buoyed by such achievements!
In particular, adult learning has a greater impact on self-confidence and self-esteem. So get ready for some furthered self-assurance as you garner new skills and abilities.
Learning fuels creativity
As you mind makes connections between new things, it can trigger ideas that will help innovation blossom. If you’re stuck on a paper you’re writing or having a hard time thinking up an art project, take a break and learn how to do something new, and then come back and see if you’re able to think through your process a bit more creatively. Learning triggers ideas which can trigger curiousity—and then even more ideas!
You’ll adapt better to change
As your life becomes more varied because of all the new thing you’re learning, you’ll naturally learn how to adapt to change as well. Adjusting in the midst of transition is a learned skill itself, and if you’re continually getting used to learning new stuff, your mind and perceptions will adjust to make room for that.
Learning how to paint a room in your new house or taking up an instrument during your first year at school may make your transition to college (or a new place to live) a bit less stressful.