Do you look forward to the day when you'll be out of school and finally working in a real job? For now, though, school is your job.

Let's do the math. Say you're in fourth grade right now. That means you only have eight more years until you're finished with high school.

If you go on to college, you'll probably have at least four more years of school. So, in total, you're looking at about a dozen more years of school. But then you'll finally be finished with learning and ready to work, right?

Well, after college, you will definitely be ready to embark upon your career. You won't be finished with learning, though. In fact, as long as you're alive, you're going to be learning new things all the time.

As the old saying goes, you learn something new every day. While that may sound like just a cliché, it's actually quite true.

Students understandably make learning the focus of their time in school. Just because you're out of school doesn't mean you stop learning, though. Working at a job and just living life requires that you continue to learn throughout your lifetime.

Being lifelong learners is part of the essence of what makes us human and sets us apart from other mammals. Our innate curiosity will continue to lead us to explore the world around us and seek to understand it in ways that are new to us.

Some experts define lifelong learning as a voluntary, self-motivated, and ongoing search for knowledge for both personal and professional reasons. In practice, it means you willingly and continually seek to learn new things for your own benefit, whether it's related to work or simply your personal interests.

If you were looking forward to the day when school would be over, lifelong learning might not sound like something to be excited about. When you realize it's just a natural part of life for everyone, though, you might start to understand how it benefits you.

Lifelong learning doesn't mean that you choose to go back to school when you're much older and grown up. While many older people do choose to return to school to finish their education or get a new degree, lifelong learning is more of a lifestyle that embraces curiosity and the desire to understand the world around you.

For example, when you finish school and start working in a job, you'll soon realize that there are always new things to learn. Technology is always changing. The marketplace is always changing. As the world changes, we must learn new things to adapt to these changes.

The same goes for our personal lives. When you finish school and start working in a job, you might also get married, start a family, buy a car, and move into a house. When these things happen, you'll quickly realize how many important life skills aren't necessarily learned in the classroom.

How do you change a diaper? How do you balance a checkbook? How do you get the best interest rate on a mortgage? How do you check the oil level in a car engine? These are just a few of the things you may find yourself learning as you get older.

Graduation is an important step for students, but it's far from the end of learning. As we live life in an ever-changing world, we will continue to learn new things every day. So stay curious and continue to WONDER about the world around you!

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is wild and delicious!