Lessons don’t cease outside of classroom

Freedom New Mexico

Area students are headed back to school — unless, of course, they never left.

We hope a hiatus from attending school doesn’t necessarily mean a vacation from learning.

In other words, don’t assume education always takes place in the classroom setting, or that it always involves essays, formulas and textbooks.

If you worked as much as one Sudoku puzzle this summer, guess what — you gave your math and logic skills a workout. The same applies with, say, online Scrabble and your vocabulary.

Swimming? We hate to break it to you, but that particular activity could fall under the category of kinesiology, the study of human movement.

Even going to a movie — yes, including summer blockbusters — has the potential to impart information about plot, character development and other aspects of storytelling.

Let’s face it. The opportunities to expand our knowledge number more than we can count. In that sense, every single one of us is a student every single day.

We sometimes call this idea “lifelong learning,” although it doesn’t mean you’ll spend the rest of your days in an actual school. We can encounter lessons anywhere, at any time.

And the lessons offered this summer included one from the subject currently on everyone’s mind, the economy.

For people getting an education as a prelude to joining the work force eventually, the recessionary pressures that have put the squeeze on the job market should prove instructive. A knowledgeable and skilled employee is a valued employee, an employee less likely to run into trouble during economically lean times.

While those lean times will ebb and flow, generally the working world continues to become more competitive. The expectations for many of today’s employees include higher productivity than ever before. Sometimes getting the job done requires figuring out how to do it better.

It might seem difficult to locate a silver lining in our current situation. For future generations, however, at the very least they’ve caught a glimpse of hardship and perhaps will be better-equipped to handle it whenever things might turn that way again. If so, they can continue to press forward like those before them, both forewarned and forearmed with knowledge they gleaned from any number of places, no matter how unlikely.

So, students, welcome back to school, even though you never left your own private learning environment.

May you learn your whole life through, in and out of the classroom.