Autodidactic Press has sponsored Self-University Week
1989. It is our intention to continually expand this celebration until
the value of lifelong learning is indelibly etched into the national
Chase's Annual Events
lists the first seven days of
September as Self-University Week. The purpose of Self-University
Week is to remind adults (in or out of school) that each of us has a
responsibility to help shape the future by pursuing lifelong education.
Constant public debate about abortion, gay rights, gun control, and
the death penalty remind us that truth is not nearly so easy to obtain
as the "right answers" we sought in school. Traditional
education in America has caused millions of people to conclude that
education is something you can "finish." The result is that
people form deep convictions based on hearsay and borrowed opinion
without feeling the need to fully reason the issues out for themselves.
Thus, debates of the major issues confronting us become little more than
emotional demonstrations of shrill shouting, finding no common ground
Answers to our most pressing problems are found in self-education and
the willingness to use reason in reaching equitable solutions. The
external push for degrees in order to qualify for high-paying jobs often
blinds us to the fact that education is as necessary for our general
well being as it is for economic opportunity. In other words, even
though full employment is increasingly problematic, many of us are
better at "earning a living" than we are at "living a
Our institutions of higher learning are vastly overrated for their
ability to impart knowledge that can be easily converted into
marketable skills, but they are greatly underrated for their ability to
inspire the understanding that helps individuals derive quality from
experience. Using learning institutions wisely depends upon a learning
stance, a thirst for knowledge, and the realization that the worth of
our future is bound to the quality of our learning.
We welcome your comments and suggestions for celebrating
Week. Please help us spread the word.
52 Ways to Celebrate
Self-University Week September 1-7
- Look up a new word every morning and figure out three ways to use
it during the day.
- Read that book you picked up months ago and haven't opened yet.
- Listen to audio books or language tapes while you drive.
- Watch only informative TV shows (no sitcoms, soaps, sports,
giveaways, movies, MTV or QVC). Exception: if you never watch the
kind of entertainment shows listed, sample a few.
- Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper or magazine of your
choice expressing your opinion on an issue.
- Find out how to send e-mail to the President or another lawmaker
of your choice. See if you can get a dialog going.
- Investigate one or more newsgroups on the Internet, and check in at
least once a day.
- Attend an open meeting or public forum each noon hour or evening
for a week.
- Sign up for a night course, workshop, or seminar.
- If you work in a large company or organization, pay a visit each
day to someone you barely know--in another department, for instance.
Get better acquainted with these people; find out more about their
work and how it relates to your own.
- Take photos of ten things (places, objects, people) that best
symbolize who you are. Then take ten more of things that represent
your dreams. (Use a digital camera) Put
the photos together in an album, montage or a web page.
- Pick two prominent figures--one from history and one now living.
Find out as much as you can about their roles in society, their
family lives, and their accomplishments. Then make a side-by-side
list comparing the two.
- Visit a library or bookstore every day and spend some time looking
through sections you've never explored before. Make a list of the
titles or subjects you find to be most interesting.
- Attend a lecture.
- Go to a foreign movie--or to a foreign country, if you can afford
- Compile a reading list of books you intend to read during the next
year, and pick one to start off with.
- Plan or start your own personal library of the books that mean the
most to you.
- Share with others a list of the most inspiring books you have ever
- Reread a book you thought was difficult or "over your
head" the first time you tried it.
- Form a roundtable discussion group to discuss books and ideas.
- Join or start a friends of the public library group.
- Join a book club.
- Choose a prominent figure in history, science, politics, or the
arts. Resolve to see how much you can find out about that person in
books, movies, newspapers, and conversation with friends and
associates over the next year. Study the person's original work and
compare your opinions with the commentary of others.
- Write an article for your company, institution, hobby, club, or
community organization newsletter or magazine.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. See how clearly
and succinctly you can make your point.
- Visit a museum or gallery.
- Sign up for a class on a subject that's new to you but highly
- Offer to teach a class for a community education enterprise. (A
sure way to learn a subject is to teach it.)
- Listen to literary classics or foreign language instruction tapes
in your car every day for a week, instead of music.
- Watch an hour of public television each night instead of cable.
- Practice the tutorials for a new piece of computer software.
- Write a brief summary of your life so far, or depict your life
graphically on a large sheet of paper.
- Spend a week reading material with which you strongly disagree.
- Create (or update) your resume.
- Search a large computer database using your favorite subjects as
- Write your own obituary. What goals do you hope to meet in your
lifetime? What do you want most people to remember about you?
- Spend some time asking the oldest (and hopefully the wisest)
people you know what were the major lessons that they have learned
- Read the Declaration of Independence and the United States
- Volunteer eight hours of your time to a nonprofit organization.
- Spend a day or a week "media free" no radio, TV, books
or magazines--entertain nothing but your own thoughts.
- Peruse introductory books to philosophy with the goal of
discovering your favorite philosopher.
- Sign up for music lessons.
- Learn enough of a computer programming language to write a simple
- Set aside a half-hour each day to examine some of your fundamental
beliefs about the world. Contrast them with opposing views. For
example, why do you belong to one political party instead of
another? And are your reasons for believing as you do your own or
did you borrow them from friends and family in the process of
- Outline the major events in your life as if it were a play. How
many acts would there be and how would they be named? What would be
the name of the play?
- Study the nature of your career, occupation or the means with
which you earn a living and make some predictions about the future
of that enterprise. If you are retired examine the career field of a
friend or relative.
- Write an essay (or make a list) describing what you think were the
greatest errors and accomplishments of the twentieth century. How
can these lessons make life better in the twenty-first century.
- If you are a worker read a book about management; if you are a
manager read a book written from the perspective of workers.
- Take the time to master that piece of hi-tech equipment that you
dread the most. Read the instruction manual, call the engineers who
- Memorize a poem.
- Take an art class.
- Subscribe to SELF-UNIVERSITY NEWSLETTER.