Make this year’s New Year’s resolution to become better educated

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We are well into the New Year and most of us have forgotten the resolution we whispered to ourselves at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Think hard, was it to lose weight (again), exercise more, go to bed earlier? Believe me, I’m not criticizing you, my resolutions rarely last a week each year, although I spend weeks planning how I’m going to put them into effect. So for this brand new year of possibilities I’ve picked education to be my resolution, and not just mine, but others as well.

I have friend who has gone back to school to get her Master’s degree in nursing, I have another who has turned to the pottery wheel to broaden her mind and yet another who is planning to redo her flower beds and has been researching the plants that will go in it and why they will succeed in her particular yard.

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All very different classes but each and every one of them are stretching their mind and embracing something naew.

In Natchez alone we have pottery classes, painting classes, ballroom dancing, computer and language classes.

Your county extension office can get you connected to Master Gardeners who can give you advice and begin educating you. Your local Red Cross office teaches baby-sitting classes, lifeguard classes and many others. Call upon your local hospitals, they have CPR classes and seminars for a multitude of things such as breast cancer, maternity classes and many others.

Many of the things you can learn this year don’t require you to spend a dime and yet you will be surprised at how connected you can become to others by a small amount of education. For example, can you text on your phone? If you have a phone and it has text capability let someone teach you how to use this feature (not while you drive) and if you have kids or more especially grandchildren just wait till they get their first text from you.

My children and I text a lot, often more than calling. It’s quick, easy and I can tell them something without a long drawn out conversation. The other day my son flew to Kentucky to visit his girlfriend, I was in the middle of something where I really couldn’t talk but it was nice to get that text that said “I’m here safe and sound.” The first time my step-mother texted me I had to read it twice to be sure it was from her, I was very happy to add her and my dad to my text list.

Can you do more on your computer than check your e-mail? Can you use different e-mail applications, can you set up a spreadsheet in Excel, do you know how to simply cut and paste a sentence in different location in a paragraph? Seems like such simple things that you might not think you need?

Well, when my daughter got married and the address list was growing and becoming unmanageable I was thrilled to learn how to put it on an Excel spreadsheet.

I could sort it alphabetically by last name and most wonderful of all I learned how to print my envelopes from it. When you can go from having my not-so-pretty handwriting, that many expensive envelopes and a short time to accomplish getting them done to picking a gorgeous font that looks like a calligraphers hand did them and feeding them through a printer 20 at a time, believe me that was a great education moment!

When you are sitting in a meeting and the person next to you collapses with a heart attack will you have any idea what to do besides call 911 and wait for an ambulance?

Why not get a group of your friends or business associates together and take a CPR class. When you finish and tuck your little card into your wallet or purse you will feel empowered. You will literally hold the knowledge in your hands to make a difference between life and death for someone.

My new job requires me to take some classes this year and I have been online looking at different places to take them. You can be enrolled at our local schools such Alcorn and Co-Lin without going to campus except to register and those are just the beginning. Every college and university I checked offers some type of online learning opportunity and now you can get your degree from a college that is several states away from you.

So for 2010 I challenge each of you to learn something new and bring your family and friends along for fun.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at