12 of the Best Things to Learn After College

Updated 04/29/19

When I graduated from college, I was sad that my education was finished—until I realized that just because I was out of school, I didn’t have to stop learning new things. At that time, I lived abroad and missed my dad’s cooking, so I decided to teach myself how to cook. Little did I know that four years later I would be employed as a food editor and another four years after that as a personal chef!

While I’m constantly learning new techniques in the kitchen (on my to-do list: master homemade gnocchi), I also really enjoy the process of learning in general. It makes you feel like a kid, and it’s exciting to become proficient in something new. If you haven’t had the thrill of picking up a new skill in a while, I highly recommend you head "back to school." Here are 12 of the best things you can learn after you’ve graduated from college.

A Sport

Wilson Tennis Racket $20
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Wilson Tennis Racket ($20)

Have you always wished you learned to play tennis? Have you dreamed of riding waves in Costa Rica? What are you waiting for?! Take tennis or surfing lessons now. Partaking in a new sport, be it a team activity like soccer or an individual pursuit like dance, is awesome because it activates the mind and the body. You’ll get a stellar workout while learning something new, and you might even make some new friends.

How to Cook

Shun Kaji Hollow-Ground Santoku Knife $250
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Everyone has to eat, so why not learn how to step up your game in the kitchen? Chopping onions can be insanely therapeutic, and feeding loved ones a hearty meal made from scratch provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to get in the kitchen today! Start by perfecting a few of your favorite dishes (roast chicken, pasta carbonara, and turkey chili are delicious ideas), then move on to harder and more complex dishes from there. Don't forget to consult this list of the most important recipes to learn by age 30.

A Language

Rosetta Stone Spanish $274
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Rosetta Stone Spanish ($274)

One of the things I admire most about my mom is her insatiable quest to learn more. The latest thing she is learning, at age 61? How to speak Spanish. She’s proving that it’s never too late to learn a new language. Invest in Rosetta Stone to pick up the basics, then enroll yourself in an immersion program in the foreign country of your choice. It’s a learning experience that doubles as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

How to Teach Something

Lululemon The Reversible (Un) Mat $48
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Lululemon The Reversible (Un) Mat ($48)

You’ve been addicted to yoga for years now, so why not take it one step further and become a certified yoga instructor? Learning to teach something is rewarding because it makes you an expert of a certain subject. Think about what you know really well, and then start to offer formal (or informal classes) to friends and family members. Even if it’s just a tutorial on how to curl your hair with a straightening iron, you’ll have to prepare for the class, and this is an important skill to have.

Be a Manager

Loren B. Belker The First-Time Manager $11
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The First-Time Manager by Loren B. Belker ($11)

If you’ve found a career that you love and want to move up in your company, take courses on how to become a meaningful and mindful manager. Being a manager is a challenging role, and if you want to prove to your boss and yourself that you can do it, it’s worth studying up on.

Public Speak

Michael Port Steal the Show $18
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Steal the Show by Michael Port ($18)

A couple of years ago, my brother enrolled himself in public speaking classes. He was always somewhat shy and quiet, but a new job required that he speak often in front of a crowd. Today, he’s an eloquent and confident public speaker. Not only does he use his training at work, but it’s come in handy in his personal life as well: He’s given three terrific best-man speeches! Public speaking is a more valuable skill than you think, so if this is something you’ve been wanting to learn, join a group such as Toastmasters.

About Personal Finance

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I’m 34 and toying with the idea of starting my own business, but I know nothing about personal finance. That’s why I’ve decided to take some classes. Everyone should be able to create a budget and manage their personal income and expenses, so if you have not learned how to do this yet, join me in taking a course on finance!

A Hobby

Singer Start Basic Everyday Free Arm Sewing Machine $79
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Those in need of a creative outlet, should learn a new hobby—being crafty is fun! Here are 13 cool hobby ideas: photography, sewing, knitting, puzzles, pottery, reading, calligraphy, candle making, singing, creative writing, stand-up comedy, blogging, and jewelry making.

CPR

OSHA First Aid Kit $37
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OSHA-Safe First Aid Kit ($37)

CPR, which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a lifesaving technique that is used to restart a person’s heartbeat or breathing. There are all sorts of classes, online and at community colleges, so take the time to learn CPR and you could potentially save a life. Who wouldn’t want this skill? If you're becoming a parent anytime soon, you should know infant CPR, as well.

How to Garden

Williams-Sonoma Copper Hand Trowel $59
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Williams-Sonoma Copper Hand Trowel ($59)

Gardening is another skill that can be super rewarding. Grow herbs to cook with and flowers to make arrangements with. Being in nature is good for the mind and soul, so put on your clogs and get ready to dirty yourself up in the soil. If you live in a city, look into urban gardens or neighborhood garden shares.

Make Art

Artist's Loft Gallery Wrapped Heavy Duty Canvas $6
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Artist's Loft Gallery Wrapped Heavy Duty Canvas ($6)

Let your creative self be free by enrolling in art classes. Be it watercolor on canvas or sculptures out of clay, find the medium that you most enjoy and master it. How fabulous will it be to decorate your home with original pieces?

Play Something

MyHabit Lacquered Wood Multi Game Set, Black $94
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Whether it be an instrument like the guitar or a game such as chess, learn to play something. Then make music or beat your best friends at your game of choice.

What new thing have you learned recently? 

Opening image: Kimberly Genevieve

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