Create a Syllabus to Step-up Your Lifelong Learning Before 2021

And to add a sense of purpose to your days.

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There I was. On my own for the first time. Lost, both literally and figuratively.

It took a while for me to find my bearings. (Both literally and figuratively.)

But there was something to guide my way. A map of sorts. A way forward.

I’m talking about my first few weeks at college freshman year. I knew where I was supposed to be but I still felt lost. Know what I mean? I felt confident about my decision to go to college but shaky about what to do once I’d arrived.

I had a case of the jitters. But I got through it with a little help. I had a schedule and a campus map. And by the time I finally found my way to my first class, I had something else to guide me through my confusion and doubt: a syllabus.

I miss those days. I know it’s easy to have a rosy vision of the past, but I really do miss walking into a classroom on the first day and being handed the keys to my success. My professor’s expectations were all right there, in one document. I knew what to do. As long as I had my syllabus, I was all set.

Welcome to the “Real World”

I’ve been out of school for several years. I miss my classmates, my campus, and especially, my professors’ syllabi. (Okay, I probably miss the people most of all, but this story isn’t about that.)

Enter the next best thing to college: being a lifelong learner. Just because formal education comes to an end doesn’t mean that we’re done learning. (In fact, I hope it doesn’t!)

Being a lifelong learner means that we accept responsibility for our continued education beyond school. It means we want to continue growing as a person long after our formal education has come to an end.

So what does it mean to be a lifelong learner in practical terms? For me, it involves a lot of gathering resources, reading, and writing. Recently, I’ve been on a self-help kick, so my reading revolves around topics like being a badass, choosing my own destiny, and establishing a positive mindset around money.

I’ve probably read a dozen self-help books in the past year. But I’ve been starting to feel like I need more than just books — I need a whole program or course around some of these topics.

Of course, many self-help authors offer programs but they tend to be at least $1,000. As I said, I’m still working on my money mindset, so I can’t (yet) afford a program like that. What’s a cash-strapped self-development junkie to do?

Design Your Own Courses and Programs

I decided to combine my commitment to self-development and lifelong learning and design my own course, complete with a syllabus.

I even looked at an old syllabus from my college days for inspiration and guidance. My syllabus includes the following:

  • Course Title
  • Course Description
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Required Resources
  • Course Requirements
  • Schedule

I decided to make the course for the Fall 2020 “semester” — August through December.

The first step was to decide on a topic that I want to study. I’m particularly keen on improving my money mindset. You know, to transition my belief system in lack and scarcity into an abundance mentality. In short, to have faith in money and my ability to earn a living with my writing.

Highlights from my Self-Designed Syllabus:

  • Course Title: Abundance Mindset for Writers
  • Course Description: In this course, I will use a variety of resources to develop a mindset of abundance . . . which will serve me as a writer and an entrepreneur. This course is based on the Law of Attraction and its sources will derive from that framework. I will explore . . . practices to shift my mindset from one of lack to one of abundance, with an emphasis on grace and forgiveness as spiritual practices.
  • Goals and Objectives: The student (me) will develop a practice of abundant beliefs that she can carry forward into the next abundant phase of her life.
  • Course Requirements: The student (again, me) will write two papers: (1) “What’s at stake when considering a mindset of abundance?” Due September 13. (2) “A Spirituality of Abundance.” Due December 13.
  • Course Schedule: consists of a morning routine, afternoon practice and evening routine.

Like in college, this syllabus will keep me on track with my learning and development goals. I believe I have a say in what I think and how I feel. And that what I think about influences what I do more than any other factor.

Self-directed learning is a passion of mine. I hope this look at my latest “course” inspires you to be intentional with your learning for the rest of the year. What’s on your learning schedule for the Fall?

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