Here's Part 1 of my series on New Year's Resolutions! Check out the January issue of Lehigh Valley Style for the rest!
A new year always holds renewed hopes and dreams for the 12 months ahead. Many of us take some time over the holiday season to dedicate ourselves to something we wish we did better or differently, less or more. We can’t help it – making resolutions is a time-honored tradition.
Are you starting a journey now, or continuing one you meant to start last year? My friends and I have made resolutions, too, and many of us have had great success achieving them here in the Lehigh Valley. I researched some of the most popular resolutions people make and will share some insider tips on local resources that can help you to stick with it.
I want… to Get a Better Education/Learn Something New
Whether it’s for your own personal enrichment, or to get a better or different job, you may be thinking about furthering your education. The Lehigh Valley’s colleges and universities offer a wide variety of programs for traditional and non-traditional students alike. If you decide to enroll, you’d be in good company – more than 45,000 students get their higher education from 11 local colleges and universities each year. Whether it’s an associate’s degree, a technical degree or that master’s or doctoral degree that you’ve been dreaming about, the Lehigh Valley’s schools offer programs for every budget and schedule – days, nights, weekends, and online. Not sure where to start? Don’t be shy – call one of the recruiters. They can give you advice about their school and help you find your place. The staff at Lehigh University has patiently guided me through stops and starts in my MBA program enrollment… and this year, I’ll finally get back on track (I promise, Corinn!). A few friends have finished that elusive bachelor’s degree as adult students at Penn State Lehigh Valley and Muhlenberg College. Many others are chipping away at graduate degrees and professional certificates via part-time programs at Cedar Crest College, DeSales University and Moravian College. One friend is a Temple medical student, who will complete her last three years of school at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem!
To get specific training, the region’s two community colleges, Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) and Northampton Community College (NCC), offer more programs than you knew were possible. The schools feature workshops and courses in everything from computer training to language skills, culinary arts to local history (and walking tours hosted by yours truly!), at multiple locations in the region. Classes are available for academic credit, and non-credit classes are also offered for those who simply wish to broaden their horizons.
But community colleges aren’t the only place to take a class. Courtney and I tried to learn how to knit last year at The Knitter's Edge, on West Broad Street at 15th Avenue in Bethlehem. The operative word here is “tried.” Our instructor was helpful but firm, and we didn’t give her any lip – she had clearly dealt with amateurs like us before! Most local knitting stores host regular knitting circles and classes on site. Classes are cheap - often $5 or less - and the stores often offer discounts on your purchase of supplies. A writer-friend raves about her positive experiences with the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, which hosts monthly meetings with speakers and “how to” sessions, critique and writing workshops, and an informal writers café. They help one another with content as well as the business of writing. If you’re interested in the creative arts, ArtsQuest and the Baum School of Art offer courses for beginners and experienced artists alike. It’s never too late to learn to ski or snowboard – and Bear Creek Resort in Macungie might be the place to do it. Their Snowsports School offers newbies a Discovery Program, an ongoing lesson designed for new skiers and riders that includes all the gear you need, and encourages you to hit the slopes when you feel you’ve mastered the basic skills.