You may have recently put together a list of New Year's resolutions. Or you might just be thinking that a new year brings an opportunity for a fresh outlook.
I would like to suggest that in 2013, you join me in this goal: I resolve to learn.
We can learn by checking out a book at the library, doing research online, having a discussion with friends, or watching an educational program on television, for a start. And of course, we can take a course at our local community college.
As a lifelong learner, I know the joy and happiness that learning brings. Learning is a way to engage or re-engage our creative capabilities. It can allow us to explore ways to link our personal lives to the goals we aspire to reach in our jobs and in our community.
Learning new skills can help us get a new job. According to the state of Colorado, 75 percent of jobs in Colorado will require some form of higher education by 2018. That's just five years from now.
Here at Colorado Mountain College, our mission is to create better futures. Learning is the most powerful way I know of doing exactly that. And we offer many reasonably priced classes, workshops, certificates and degrees.
When I talk with people who sign up for our classes, they often say they're interested in making sense of what's happening in the world. They might sign up for a Colorado history course, which links the history of our state with current issues, such as energy policy. Or they might take a class about the ethics of immigration, or environmental science, to increase their understanding in these areas that affect our daily lives.
My personal favorite that we're offering this spring is Survey of British Literature. This includes some of my all-time favorite authors: George Eliot, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Even though they wrote many decades ago, their stories are still relevant. You can see this in how many contemporary movies are made based on their books.
Many other people come to us for our integrated energy program. In that program, we really take a balanced approach, offering training in both renewable energy and traditional petroleum-based careers.
In our spring class schedule, you can see all the numerous ways anyone can learn through us. And these opportunities are not always in classes and workshops. Sometimes you can learn through community events, like Leon Littlebird in concert Jan. 18, or the bluegrass of Honey Don't on Feb. 22. Or PBS Community Cinema's showing of "Wonder Women!" in March.
You also meet really interesting people here. When I'm lucky enough to be in a classroom teaching, I meet wonderful people who are doing fabulous things. The great thing about a community college is that everyone in the classroom, all ages and backgrounds included, is learning, together.
So go ahead: Resolve to learn in 2013.
Dr. Barbara Johnson is an instructional chair for Colorado Mountain College in Rifle.