While Webster’s might define a nerd as someone who is unstylish, unattractive or ”hopelessly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits” — nerds and geeks have increasingly become accepted among the mainstream. And lately, they’ve become more well-known for their enthusiasm for things they love. If you love to write or read, you might be a word nerd. If you have an unhealthy obsession for fashion, you could be geek chic.
No matter your interests, being well-educated is a great way to becoming a more well-rounded person. It also has a habit of making a person more enlightened, i.e. less judgmental and more congenial with others of different backgrounds. Here are some things you can do to keep your mind young and to expand your horizons.
Read 30 Minutes a Day
Image via Flickr by The City of Toronto
Whether you read classic literature, a self-help book, or a textbook on computer programming, reading is a great way to learn and grow. There are many ways to go about this. Save money by heading to the local library where you can pick up books on pretty much any subject imaginable. Or if you prefer to stay home, head to your local library’s online equivalent where you can borrow e-books and read them on your e-reader device or your computer. Pick a time, such as right before bed or on the train or bus to work, and make it a habit.
Listen to Audio Books
If reading isn’t an option, audio books are a great replacement. Online libraries often have audio versions of books that can be listened to from phones, mp3 players, tablets, and computers, or you can borrow books on CD from your local library. Listen during your commute to work or while you’re exercising or cleaning the house. It might even get your kids more interested if you listen to books in their presence.
Follow Expert Blogs
Choose some topics you’re interested in and find blogs written by experts in that field. You can follow the blogs easily through RSS readers. Not sure whom to follow? Find respected books in the genres and find out if those authors have blogs. Expert blogs are a great resource to keep up to date on what is happening in that field. This is a great option for career development, so you’re current on trends and new developments — it’s important whether you’re a graphic artist, photographer, engineer or physicist.
One of the best parts about the Internet is given way to huge opportunities for education. With companies like Verizon increasing the infrastructure for mobile and FiOS internet connections across the globe, more and more people have the access to learning resources. From remote college courses, to cloud enabled education apps, the sky really is the limit for self-education.
One great resource for self-educating is MIT’s Open Course Ware, where you can learn about many topics on your own time for free. Sure, you won’t get college credit, but it gives you the opportunity to learn more about the world around you.
Fix Things Yourself
Although it’s easy to call a plumber if the sink faucet is dripping or if your washer starts leaking, why not take the opportunity to learn a new skill? Look for how-to videos on YouTube, learn more about how to fix a broken item at HowStuffWorks.com, or find a blog that shows how to do various complicated tasks.
Watch TED Talks
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TED (technology, entertainment and design) is a set of conferences that is sponsored by Sapling Foundation, a non-profit that believes in spreading ideas. These talks are recorded, and you can find many of them through TED.com and on Netflix. Talks cover the whole spectrum from complex topics such as causes of cancer growth to simple ones like “How to use a paper towel.” Because of the variety of TED talks, you’ll always be learning something new. Try to watch one new TED talk each day.
As stated by the wise William Dean Howells, “The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested.” Learn to be interested. Learn to love learning. With it, you will become a better person — and one worth knowing.