I'm writing a blog post about my experience in college and I'm not sure which of following titles should I use:

  1. 10 Life Lessons I Learned After Leaving College
  2. 10 Life Lessons I Have Learned After Leaving College

3 Answers 3


If you're still learning, the answer is "I have learned" because you're still learning these lessons.

If you only learned these 10 lessons, and then nothing after that then I'd write "I learned".


I'd say that if these 10 lessons still impact your present life, use present perfect, because they are relevant now. I prefer the present perfect, because they are "life lessons". If you are thinking of the period in the past when you learnt these lessons, use past simple.


For the present perfect tense that your second candidate title uses (“I have learned”), Wikipedia notes

The present perfect in English is used chiefly for completed past actions or events when it is understood that it is the present result of the events that is focused upon, rather than the moment of completion. No particular past time frame is specified for the action/event. When a past time frame (a point of time in the past, or period of time which ended in the past) is specified for the event, explicitly or implicitly, the simple past is used rather than the present perfect.

The best choice of title hinges on how closely in time the post will present your connection to the past time frame of leaving college.

  1. Are you a recent college graduate who is still figuring out “the real world”? If so, “10 Life Lessons I Have Learned After Leaving College” would be more appropriate. Changing a single word to make the title “10 Life Lessons I Have Learned Since Leaving College” will emphasize proximity in time.

  2. Regardless of how far removed in time you are from college, if your intent is to project maturity and therefore separation from the mindset of an young undergraduate, “10 Life Lessons I Learned After Leaving College” would be better.

Related but not directly applicable is in contexts more formal than a blog post, you would definitely spell out the leading number of titles, sentences, section headers, and so on — as in “Ten Life Lessons …” Whether to spell out numbers internal to sentences depends on style and the level of formality.

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