You’ve finally done it. You found a plot of land, successfully built your new home off of the grid, and are living your life in a blissful state of self-sufficiency. You’ve harnessed a source of consistent renewable energy, have access to reliable fresh water, and that composting toilet you built is working like a charm.
You’ve mastered your hunting and trapping skills, dominated agriculture with your backyard garden, and read every last book you brought with you twice-over. Boredom is setting in, and you know that your mental health is just as important to your survival as your physical health. There are only so many times you can re-organize your storage shed before it starts to make your mind itch.
Consider pursuing higher education. No, seriously, there is no better time to do it. Whether you’ve already got a degree and want to keep your mind sharp or you never considered going to college, the opportunity to do so is more widely available now than it has ever been. Using satellite internet, a personal hotspot, or even your cell phone gets you access to the world wide web.
Why Get a Degree Now?
There are a lot of reasons for you to consider obtaining a degree while living off of the land. First, it is important to keep yourself occupied and entertained in what boils down to a long-term survival situation. Keeping your spirit up while also giving yourself a mental challenge is an ideal way to spend free hours when not tending to your new homestead.
Generally, online courses tend to be incredibly flexible as far as time management goes. You can take as few or as many classes as you like at a time, which allows you to complete courses at your own pace while still being able to balance other obligations.
Taking online classes also introduces much needed social interaction in your day-to-day life when living off of the grid. One deciding factor of going off-grid may have been a chance to step away from interaction with the general population en masse, but it still remains important to keep your social skills sharp even when you live in the middle of nowhere.
What Use Would it Be?
Going to school online can have a direct and trackable impact on your life off-grid. You may think you’ve done everything under the sun to prepare for the apocalypse on your new homestead, but the fact remains that there will always be unexpected emergencies that you have to deal with. Think of education as just one more tool in your emergency preparedness arsenal.
Getting a degree in agriculture or ecology can help you to further understand and cultivate the land around you. Knowing which varieties of fruit and vegetables grow well in your environment with as little effort as possible can free your schedule up significantly. Gaining knowledge of why and how different animals and plants interact with each other can give you an insight into how you can make your off-the-grid life not only prosperous, but less harmful to the world around you.
Another useful degree to obtain when you’re living off of the land is a nursing degree. Depending on where you’ve built your new homestead, access to adequate medical care may be especially difficult. With a degree in nursing you can not only make the most out of your well-stocked first aid kit, but can also divert monumental health related disasters with knowledge alone. If you live with others, being able to maintain their health is essential, as you will need everyone capable doing their part in order to sustain your life off-grid.
It’s also good to keep in mind that pursuing a degree will be helpful to you regardless of what field of study you choose. Yes, college is designed to make you proficient in your chosen field, but it also teaches you other invaluable skills. Critical thinking and time management are two of the intrinsic skills an education provides, both of which are vital to long-term survival outside the reach of the societal safety net.
Taking online classes will also help to keep your mind active and sharp, forcing you to think laterally about topics, which will hone your critical thinking and decision making skills. Even if you pursue a degree that simply interests you, like a psychology or even a military history degree, you will find that it is beneficial regardless. If the idea behind becoming self-sufficient is important to you, you will find great joy in improving yourself and seeking out further knowledge, regardless of what that knowledge pertains to.
Just because you live off-the-grid, doesn’t mean that you have to be cut off from the opportunities that society as a whole has to offer. An education is invaluable no matter where or how you live. Obtaining a degree that will either directly affect your ability to survive on your own or give you the intrinsic benefits of critical thinking is a smart move that will help to improve your mind and skills in a wide variety of situations.
Ross Cowan is a freelance writer who lives in Idaho. He enjoys white-water rafting, long camping trips with his partner and dog, and is an avid hiker. Follow Ross on his Twitter @RossCowanWrites.