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Want to learn a new skill? The best time to start is now

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I love to learn. I’m one of those people who truly believes that learning can, and indeed should be, a lifelong process. Whether it’s acquiring a new skill or hobby, earning a university or college degree, or even just trying out a baking technique for the first time, learning can be as fun as it is addictive. And the best part about learning is that there are no age restrictions: you’re never too old or too young to try something new.


If the idea of sitting in a classroom makes your eyes glaze over, rest assured that learning doesn’t have to take place in a formal setting. I’ve met many people over the years who, with the simple desire to learn something new, have taught themselves how to play the guitar, crochet a sweater, or become fluent in another language. It wasn’t that these folks had more spare time than others, either.


They simply started with the realization that if you’re waiting for the "right time" to learn something new, it will never happen. There will never be enough hours in the day, and life will always be busy, so it doesn’t make sense to keep putting off trying something new. After all, you can’t start a marathon without taking that first step!


One thing I’ve had an interest in learning for some time but kept finding reasons to put off was teaching English as an additional language. This past September, I finally realized that if I wanted to acquire certification the first step was registering for the courses I needed. I knew that it would take a couple of years to complete, but it was never going to happen if I didn’t sign up for that first course.


Now I’ve recently started my second course in the five-course CTESL (Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language) and I love every minute of it. I especially like that the students represent a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds. I’ve even had the opportunity to make some new friends, such as Sara Gossen, a first-year university student from Windsor Park. Sara is interested in completing her CTESL diploma in order to fulfill a life-long dream of teaching English in Japan.


Is there something that you’ve always wanted to learn or try but kept putting off?
If now’s the time you’re willing to go for it, let me know so I can follow your progress in an upcoming column.

Heather Tiede is a community correspondent for Windsor Park. You can contact her at htiede@gmail.com

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