Investing in Yourself with the Internet

What does one do when they have a whole lot of time on their hands and nothing to do?

A few decades ago we’d answer this question pretty differently. Maybe read a book? Go to the movies? Walk dogs for a few extra bucks, or mow your neighbor’s lawn? Lay outside and watch the clouds roll by? Today, though, we just have to say one thing: internet.

Endless knowledge at our very fingertips!

The internet, as you know, essentially has everything about everything. I could probably use it to find that one friend I used to share my Cheetos with in preschool on social media, or to find a YouTube video of a guy playing a harmonica in the 1940’s. The internet is limitless. However, there is a huge problem with today’s young society and the internet. We misuse it every day.

Let me backtrack before I go into the details, and maybe you’ll see my point: Education is really, really expensive. Countless people either suffer from crippling student debt, or struggle finding the right school that fits their budget, or say, “Feel the Bern! We need to free education, dammit!” Free education, you naysayers proclaim? What a novel idea!

Before you go out and campaign and complain about the monetary train-wreck that is the education system, I’ll let you in on a secret: You have access to the most diverse, comprehensive, effective, and free education in the world. That’s correct, it’s that thing we call the internet! If you could muster up the motivation, you’d find that the internet is the most accessible education that’ll teach you more than any Ivy League Shmivy League University ever could (OK, maybe that’s reaching, but bear with me).

But you already have free education, amiga!

A few examples of the awesome teaching powers of the internet:

  1. You can learn how to do your own basic plumbing at http://www.dummies.com/how-to/home-garden/home-improvement/interiors/plumbing.html
  2. Or you could learn why in the world you pay income taxes, and more at https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Taxes-101/What-are-Income-Taxes-/INF14797.html
  3. Maybe you want to learn about the history of Ancient Egypt! Well, check out http://www.ancient.eu/egypt/
  4. Or you could find out how and why you’re lactose intolerant at http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/lactose-intolerance-14/primer
The point is, you can basically learn anything on the internet.

It’s up to you whether or not you take advantage of the education that the internet provides. Let’s go back to the first question I asked: “What does one do when they have a whole lot of time on their hands and nothing to do?” and let’s expand a bit on our answer. Think of your free time as extra money you have laying around. If you want to make use of it, maybe you invest it so that you can get a return on your investment and make more money! Well, the same goes for your free time. Invest it, and invest it in yourself. How do you do this? By identifying a skill or piece of information you’d like to learn, and using the internet to achieve that knowledge.

For example, I got really interested in web design after I took a computer science course at school for my spring semester. So, I used codeacademy.com to learn basic HTML and CSS, and then proceeded to make myself a basic webpage. Now, I can continue my learning and learn even more about web design and development and take my skills to the next level. That’s me investing my time in myself. And my return on investment? Hopefully an internship, or a job, or some cool subject matter for my next conversation. In any case, next time you’re sitting around wondering what your time could be spent doing, think about your self-investment, and think about the internet.

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