With each passing year, your habits, beliefs, hell, and even your vocabulary seem to stagnate. But with a little effort, you can keep your mind malleable, get smarter, and be a more informed citizen. Check out these strategies and apps.
Expert ways to get smarter and be a committed citizen
1. Break out of your bladder
“We have become strangers to each other in a sadly dangerous way,” says learning and development advisor Paula Green. “Take the time to speak to someone who has chosen differently or has a different lifestyle than you, and really listen. Ask them, “What is important to you?” Be curious, not reassuring. You may find that your needs are not that different from theirs. “
Lend your energy and expertise to those who need it and you will pull the curtain back on another slice of life – feeling valued for your efforts. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find a volunteer opportunity that suits your availability and level of expertise: browse sites like VolunteerMatch, Catchafire, and HandsOn Connect.
Illustration by Kagan McLeod
3. Keep learning
Your days in the dorm may be in the back view, but that doesn’t mean you have to rely on a supply of groceries to expand the mind. Thousands of college courses are available online for free – including over 500 from Ivy League schools like Harvard, Cornell, and Princeton. Whether you want to learn to code, delve into Bitcoin, or tackle Shakespeare again, you will likely find a class schedule for you. Bonus: Most are self-guided and taught virtually. Use Class Central to narrow down the offers.
4. SHARPEN YOUR SCREEN TIME
Stop the pointless scrolling and strengthen your brain with this trio of apps: Climb is an easy way to expand your vocabulary through fun, personalized quiz questions with clues that contain animated GIFs. Lumosity trains your brain through memory, multitasking and focus challenges, and hones skills that are suitable for real-world applications. And Memrise is like TikTok for learning a second language. Instead of memorizing awkward, outdated textbook phrases, snack-sized videos teach you common phrases and slang from native speakers.
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