What to do After College? A Guide to Classes Off-Campus


Photo via Puget Sound Business Journal

The Pratt Fine Arts Center is one organization that offers art classes that everyone and anyone can sign up for, from jewelry making to metalwork to glassblowing.

Many college students only know life within the traditional education system, going from elementary to high school and then possibly on to college. Students typically face a standard 16 years of structured education before entering the job market, a wild west of unstructured life goals and wayward wandering for work. Some students, of course, will not stop with a bachelor’s degree, as some go on to get a Masters or Doctorate.

For those that are graduating or simply looking for outside opportunities to learn, there are many options in Seattle to pick up some new skills without sitting in a lecture hall.

The Pratt Fine Arts Center is one place adults can go to learn a variety of artistic skills. The center offers classes on everything from metalwork to glass blowing and even stone carving. The classes offer people many avenues for self expression and gives people an opportunity to work in mediums that are not always easy to learn, giving them new experiences and skills.

Ed MacFarlane, a student enrolled in the metalworking class at the center, talked about how important it was to have unique programs at the art center.

“I never thought that I would be doing metalwork,” MacFarlane said. “For me, these classes give me the opportunity to do things that I never would have thought to be possible, and now I have really cool stories to tell people when they ask about my hobbies.”

In addition to classes, the center offers studio space to artists looking for a place to work on their craft.

For those who want to improve their creative writing and gear up for a writing job, Hugo House offers a variety of classes. The public programs at the Hugo House are at the cornerstone of the Seattle literary scene, and the educational programs at Hugo House provide opportunities for students to practice their writing, with classes taught by published authors.

While more traditional than other types of post-educational experience in Seattle, community colleges offer relatively inexpensive opportunities to learn. Seattle Central College is a short walk away from Seattle University’s campus and is a higher education institution that can be accessed by Seattle U graduates for a chance to learn about subjects that fulfill personal enjoyment, not just a degree. Seattle Central also offers a degree if students are interested.

Alana Santos, a graphic design student at Seattle Central, spoke to how important the cost of education is when it comes to enrolling in classes she is interested in.

“No one in my family has ever had the opportunity to get a higher education degree, so being able to study something I love at this school has meant so much to me,” Santos said. “The cost is pretty cheap which is the main reason I can go to school and work toward my interests.”

For those looking to learn more about cooking, Sur La Table offers cooking classes for all skill levels to increase their knowledge of the culinary arts. While a college student’s cooking may be relegated to ramen and microwave burritos, a “Pasta from Scratch” or “Intro to Korean BBQ” class can help broaden within your dinner options.

Located within the bottom floors of Pike Place Market Sur La Table offers classes in their teaching kitchen. Their goal is to provide a space for people to come and pick up new skills in a fun environment, according to Allison Ken, an instructor.

“We offer a safe space for people of all different experiences to try out cooking in a way that really makes it fun,” Ken said. “I think that the main reason people don’t like cooking is they haven’t had anyone show them how.”

The end of college is a big change, marking the end of an era for people who have been students for the vast majority of their lives, but it doesn’t have to be the end of learning. These types of programs can be available to people who are interested in taking a little time outside their daily life to learn something new. For those that are having a hard time finding what to do with their time after college, classes like these are an opportunity to keep learning skills no matter what stage you are in life.