Written By: Saeeda RuffinOne of the most awesome gifts that life gives us is an abundance of opportunities to better ourselves. We all know that we should welcome and embrace every chance to learn. With all of that, when we talk about learning people automatically jump to the assumption that learning can only be done in a classroom with heavy textbooks and a whiteboard full of notes. Nope...that’s totally not true. Learning can happen anywhere! There are so many fantastic ways to further educate yourself and not one of them forces you to go back to school.Whether you are considering changing your occupation, looking to gain greater insight into a skill or role, or just want to be on your A-game when your next job opportunity comes along, preparing yourself will be essential. The best way to do that is to get your mind around what you need to learn and explore the options to get that knowledge. It’s not a time to be intimidated. This is actually a time to be inspired and enthusiastic about the possibilities. Girl, you gon’ learn today...and you’re going to grow and blossom from it!Take a moment to focus on you and your future. Now, jump into get yourself where you feel that you need to be. Challenge yourself to explore these 5 ways to educate yourself without going back to school:YouTube-iversity YouTube has become the world’s biggest learning platform. With millions of videos on every subject, any novice can get lots of instructions and really get skilled through watching these videos. The main thing that you need to remember when selecting the videos for the skills that you want to learn about is to seek credibility. Many professionals, not just folks with a video camera and time on their hands, have posted videos that can help you understand concepts and possibly even changes within your field that you need for staying abreast. Get on there and soak up all the information that you can!You Don’t Know, You Better Ask SomebodyBelieve it or not, people are generally willing to share their skills and experience. Reach out to professionals in the field that you want to pursue or that have the skills that you need to learn. Ask them if they would be willing to help you learn or if they could give you tips. They may even be willing to mentor you through the learning process.Workshops Can Really WorkYour local library, some retail stores, or even professional networks, such as the Chamber of Commerce, will likely offer tons of workshops. Many will be focused on specific skills and they will be led by knowledgeable professionals. One of the best things about these workshops is that they are usually free or extremely cheap! So, you get the best of both worlds with this one. Plus, you may be able to get more personalized attention or a chance to speak with the presenter beyond the workshop. Get On The Google-verseYes, honey, the information is out there...right on Google.com. One of the great things about using Google to gain access to information is that you will be presented with a myriad of sources. The most challenging part of using this platform is to find the right “keywords” for your search. That might take a little time. But, eventually, you will get it together and before you know it, you will get “educated.”Become An ApprenticeWhen people think of being an apprentice, they usually think of someone being exceptionally young or right out of college. Well, there are apprenticeship programs that are for anybody who wants to learn a new skill or are transitioning into a different field. Most professional organizations will have websites that outline the path to certain careers within their field. Reach out to those organizations and find out about the apprenticeship programs that they offer. You may be pleasantly surprised at how receptive they are too and excited about people wanting to explore their industry. Sis, now is the time to do for you! Embrace the challenge, get enthusiastic about the future, and put educating yourself at the forefront of your plans. What better way to be the change that you want for tomorrow’s world than to get in there and being a position to make it happen. A better you is a better us. Iron sharpens iron and when our sisters grow, our community benefits astronomically!