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I always wanted to be one of the smart kids growing up, but while I was envying the Ravenclaws, I usually found myself sitting at the Hufflepuff table. I tend to be okay at learning, but boredom and frustration have always been my major enemies.

Almost as soon as I was out of school, I wanted to go back–there is so much to learn! Looking through the course catalog for the local community college kind of felt like window shopping at my favorite store. I wanted one of everything, and two of some! Learning how to write code would be so useful in today’s job market, and I can always improve my math skills. Let’s face it–I went to art school. When it came to anything outside of painting and drawing, a lot of my instructors took the attitude of “Oh, you’re an artist. You probably won’t understand this, so let me give you the very, very basics. Even my third grader can understand this part.”

I know I’m not one of the smart kids and I can’t really change that. I’ll never find a cure for cancer or invent the next techno gadget that takes the world by storm. But I want to do my best to be the most educated person that I can be.

One thing that I’m trying to balance in with all of my writing and knitting (and everything else) is stuff that I can do to improve myself. I like to keep at least 1 nonfiction book and one classic in my rotation (I’m usually reading a physical book, an ebook, and listening to an audio book at any given time). This year I’ve started trying to read more diverse books, and it’s a theme that I want to expand on next year. I also want to add in more books that deal with STEM topics (Science, technology, engineering, and math) rather than just my usual history/biography (if you have a good recommendation that someone with a minimal math/science background can follow, I’d be really interested!).

I’m also trying to work on my foreign language skills. I’ve taken the same two years of French over and over, and I keep having to drop the class before I get into the bits that are actually useful in casual conversation (as opposed to “I need a ticket. Where is the train?”). Right now I’m using Duolingo, and it’s been nice. I usually do 1-2 review sessions each time I sit down, and then one section of new material. I’ve spent about a week reviewing how to ask questions in French, though, because the grammar can be tricky.

I’m not sure what direction I want to go in next, but I’m hoping that all of this will prove useful. I don’t want to just forget everything I’ve learned. I want to use it to make something meaningful.