NEW SKILLS YOU CAN EASILY LEARN At Your Local Community College

It’s September and back to school fever is kicking in all over. If you find yourself itching for some more knowledge or yearning to pick up a new skillset, look no farther than your local community college. Community colleges always offer great introductory classes (especially when it comes to the arts or hobbyist skills) so it’s absolutely worth checking one out to see what your neighborhood has in store. And if it isn’t an actual college, odds are you’ve got some great community education or arts classes nearby as well.

I love woodworking. I only took one formal class in college but it was enough to get me started on what has become a lifelong love affair with the medium. Wood is unlike most other materials in that it’s organic and natural and as such each plank has its own character and its own flaws. Wood can be a forgiving medium if treated right and a punishing mistress if treated poorly. You’ll feel invigorated with your newfound masculinity after building that first birdhouse and you’ll likely be able to teach yourself where to go from there once you’ve mastered just a few of the basic shop saws and tools. Not to mention the woodworking skills can apply to endless avenues of life, especially in any sort of handyman or construction situation.

I have yet to graduate to the “knowing how to weld” stage of my life. I’d like to think that one day the knowledge will just come to me, but I’m aware that outside The Matrix, that isn’t how manly skillsets are acquired. So I’m determined to master this skill at some point. If you’ve ever wanted to engage in the ancient art of metallurgy, want to look cool and rugged with a blowtorch and a welder's mask, or want to (someday) forge your own sword fit for a king, then welding and metalworking is the place to start. Welding as a career prospect is a bit of a gamble at the moment and could honestly go either way, although I have no hesitation in recommending it as a masculine skill worth possessing.

In this day and age, who need photography lessons, amirite? Here’s the deal. One: you could probably use photography lessons because we all could and having an Instagram does not make you a photographer, and two: you’ll get access to great equipment you couldn’t otherwise get. I’d recommend hunting down a great film photography course because there’s nothing like the long hours spent in a darkroom developing photos to make you appreciate the artistry that goes into every step of the creative process. You’ll get to engage with a dying(?) art form without having to be an eccentric rich person, and feel like an undercover reporter or superhero while you do it.

There are a number of online coding academies that one can try and most of them are pretty good. That said, it can be hard to keep up with such cold and occasionally uninspiring lesson plans as you build the tools necessary to get the basic conversation going. Having classmates and a dedicated teacher with whom you can share your trials and triumphs can be the deciding factor that makes all the difference. Coding in any form (HTML, CSS, etc.) is an actual language, and like other actual languages, you’ll lose it if you don’t use it. That’s where having standard assignments and peers studying alongside you can change the game for the better.

Seemingly the oldest way of carrying stuff, pottery is the ancient art of turning clay into pots or “pottery wares”. Most introductory classes won’t waste time in getting you behind a throwing wheel, which let’s be honest is where all the fun is at. You’ll likely also learn a variety of techniques such as raku and horsehair techniques, in addition to the numerous different ways one can fire their pottery in different kilns. Pottery wares make some of the best homemade gifts since they’re small, portable, and great for people of all ages; and there’s something deeply sensual about the experience of losing time while immersing yourself up to your elbows in clay.

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