Arts and Crafts Culture General

Community Ed: A Hidden Treasure Trove of Nerdiness

So you have a new nerdy interest — you’ve heard about it, read up on it, trawled the internet for more information about it, and pretty much fallen in love with it. But despite the excitement a newfound nerdy passion brings, you’ve run into a problem. Maybe you don’t know many other people who are into your new thing, or maybe the ones you do know live far away. Or maybe you’ve just hit a wall with what you can found on Google regarding your new interest. Whatever the reason, you’re looking for an opportunity to learn more about your new passion in a more hands-on way, preferably in the company of fellow enthusiasts.

And that’s where community education classes come in. Before you scoff at such a seemingly old-folksy kind of thing to do, just hear me out. If you know where and when to look, you can find community ed classes on just about any hobby you can think of, from drawing to pastry-making to fiction writing and beyond.

Image Credit:
Image Credit:

I discovered this wonderful resource for nerdery a couple of years ago, and took an eight-week Japanese class through community ed — it was ostensibly to strengthen my language-learning skills in general, but let’s face it; it was really so I could pride myself on knowing about one word in twenty whilst watching anime. It served both purposes quite nicely in the end, and was a darn good time to boot. And this year, I renewed my love for community ed by taking a calligraphy course — I’ve been a self-taught amateur calligrapher for a while, but the class was a great way to solidify my basic skills, and I can now make cooler stuff than I could just based on my own knowledge.

Beyond strengthening an interest you already have, community ed classes can be great places to find that next new geeky interest you’ve never had a chance to try out (or that you may never have even heard of before). Want to start a blog? Lots of community ed programs have intro to WordPress classes. Always been curious to try sculpture or pottery making? Community ed is a great place to get started.

Image Credit: Ballatore
Image Credit: Ballatore

As with the best nerdy things, you might have to get a little creative sometimes — for example, let’s say you want to become a better cartoonist; you could take a watercolor or oil painting class to learn new techniques to apply to your current style. Or maybe you’d like to get started with cosplay — you can take a sewing class to learn the basics in a setting where there will be someone to guide you in person, and then build on those skills to make your first costume.

Image Credit: Lee Soohyuk Watercolor Painting
Image Credit: Lee Soohyuk Watercolor Painting

Now, you may think that there aren’t good options for community ed where you are. But chances are, you’re wrong — larger cities will generally always have a plethora of options available, of course but even small towns often have community ed courses available, through libraries, schools, churches, or even local businesses. Sometimes, all it takes is a little digging or asking around to find great classes held in nearby places.

Community ed classes are one of those things that just go to show that nerdy fun can be found in lots of unexpected places. Have you taken any community ed classes? If not, is there one you’d like to take to strengthen your geeky skills?



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