Learning by Heart: How to Help People and the Planet Through Education

The economy will rise… some day. But in the meantime, we must, as they say, look on the bright side. Jobs may be scarce, unemployment at a 26-year high. Positions you could have landed with ease a few years back may not even garner a response—let alone an interview—today. Even if you are among the employed, the 467,000 cuts made in June alone may have you feeling uneasy.

But with all this frustration comes opportunity. Instead of needlessly sending out your resume for the limited jobs available—quite possibly in fields you’re not even interested in—consider using a down economy as an excuse to craft a new talent or add an unrealized dimension to your existing skill set. Consider heading back to school! Down time need not be idle, after all—continuing education is a solid way to prepare for success once our economic picture brightens.

Not only can continuing education provide a competitive advantage in the job marketplace, but one of the following people- and planet-minded programs could transform your life and maybe even benefit people and the planet to boot.

Business as Unusual

Though the entrepreneurial spirit may be dampened in this moment, crystal balls around the world are predicting that the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) is the business model of the future. Sustainability is carving out a substantial residence for itself inside of MBA curriculums nationwide. It’s up to you on just how “green” you’d like to go. Some schools, like San Francisco's Presidio School of Management, the Dominican University in San Rafael, California and the Maharishi School of Management in Iowa were founded specifically for eco-minded innovators. If you’re juggling lots of commitments, perhaps the online MBA in Sustainable Business from Green Mountain College will better fit your schedule. Mainstream business schools are also making this shift: Take Stanford Graduate School of Business’ joint degree for MBA students in environment and resources and Duke’s Environmental Leadership Program, both of which have been highly regarded, for example.

Beyond the Dollar Bill

These hard-hitting times have you seeking a deeper meaning in life. Consider a course of study that addresses the larger questions. The School of Practical Philosophy, with affiliates around the world, provides courses and activities based on how some of the great philosophical principles enhance daily living, while also integrating meditation. Just imagine meditating during December on sunny, warm Australian shores as a part of your curriculum, after which heading to the beach for one of those “oceanic experiences” communing with a wave—as fodder for your degree of course.

All-Around Goodness

You help yourself by helping others. Programs that take a holistic approach to healing can give you the tools to create successful alternative practices that treat the entire individual. JFK University, with three Bay Area locations, offers several programs at their School of Holistic Studies, designed to help you discover your life's work, build a repertoire of learning methods and serve the greater good; one of which is an MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies. At the California Institute of Integral Studies, people devoted to revolutionizing themselves and the world come together to pursue degrees that connect the spiritual and practical dimensions of intellectual life. The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, Calif., offers a Transformational Coaching Training Program that runs 12 months, and will have you career-ready come commencement. In Portland, Oregon, the National College of Natural Medicine blends ancient healing wisdom with modern science into challenging graduate programs. These interdisciplinary schools teach you how to treat the whole person—or the mind, body and soul—which some refer to as the “mindbodysoul” if you catch my drift.

Commit to Compassion

If you are a philanthropist—a die-hard non-profiteer—think about taking it to the next level. The Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program at the University of San Francisco prepares people for management and leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. The New School in New York City also offers an MS in Nonprofit Management dedicated to crafting pioneers in the nonprofit sector within a global context.

Love School

You wish lunchtime yoga extended further. Put yourself through a rigorous teacher training like the one at Lotus College of Yoga in New York and San Francisco—and voila! You will come out radiating love and transformation, and walking the yogic walk. Mixing the spiritual with the practical, graduates find themselves well poised to teach anywhere in the world, not to mention the benefits of personal growth, inner peace and a toned tush

Helping You Help All of Us

Knowledge seekers who are daunted by the cost of higher education, we understand. Check out the Gaia Community Scholarship with Ode Magazine available to those aspiring to be the change they wish to see in the world. Answer a few questions, and your passion and ambition could be well on their way to earning you a beautiful future. Sure, that Gandhi quote has been popping up in every inspirational corner imaginable, but if we really stop to contemplate it, living the change we wish to see in the world is the only way change will ever come about. It’s time to heed such advice.

Good luck on your next adventure!

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Diana Zorin
Diana Zorin's picture
User offline. Last seen 5 years 25 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 01/31/2011

That's true. There're not enough jobs. When I was under the age of 18, trying to be hired anywhere wouldn't almost bring me any results. However, even now, times are so tough that looking for even an odd job becomes torturous. Moreover, cuttings happen all over the country, and that scares people a lot.
Yet, that's right, going back to school will help people. The only one problem, again, is financing education.
Still, helping people is wonderful! Let's support each other!
No matter happens, relax and smile!!!

Desirae's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 years 52 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 07/26/2012

It explores how we might live with compassion and respect for everyone not just our friends and neighbors but all people not just our own dogs and cats but all animals not just our own homes but also the earth itself our ultimate home.

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