getting a grip

schoolbeans.jpg
Night classes do not start until Wednesday again for me, but that doesn’t mean that learning has not yet started.
In lieu of a textbook for a fourth year business class on Project Management, we are required to join the Project Management Institute as members in the Vancouver Island chapter. This is an interesting approach as I have never been required to use online resources exclusively versus a textbook. For years I have been wondering why this is not done and now I’m finally in a class that does it. Online learning is not new, but this particular aspect, for me, certainly is. In the past, textbooks have offered online versions and CD-ROMs which we never used. That is not the same – not nearly the same – as a professional network which maintains significant monthly publications, a giant resource library, and a massive membership – 265,000+ members. I like that. The designer in me also wonders if a redesign is on the way? Seems like a good candidate..
Last week, for my other class, I checked in with the book store to see if the textbook was in, but they had no information on the class or the book, so my attempt at getting some early reading done was stifled. Too bad, because the weekends and evenings really get jammed further into the semester with assignments and a desire to do something other than reading while writing. I like to let ideas percolate in my head before any amount of significant lecturing so that I can see what sticks naturally and what will take a bit more effort to grok. This generally leads to questions in class while on a subject – pretty much the best time to ask questions. If it all makes sense, sometimes it simply comes to discussion – either way, it makes time in class time well spent.

out of a bind

The photo above is simply my binder with the prong things open. I made it a mission to get artistic with a binder, and that’s what I came up with. I emptied my binder and am recycling everything except resource-based handouts and assignments which I can use as reference. I picked up a binder with a number of dividers and am categorizing the resources, then three-hole punching them to file away. I’m starting with a 1″ binder but am sure that will have to be replaced by next year. It’s all part of the master plan.
This is much different than how I used to deal with material from classes gone by. They used to sit in a drawer, a mountain of notes and “fun sheets” (credit to Mr. Gardner, my high school computer science and mathematics teacher for that one) all jumbled together, no order and certainly no filter. After a couple years, that mountain of notes would go to the recycling box and that would be that. Maybe it’s fair that it went that way – 6 classes per semester is a lot to re-file and index, and a lot of the information in earlier years of post-secondary may have been harder to filter. Information overload is easy at that pace. That is why I am enjoying doing only two courses per semester – something that makes sense to me while continuing to work full time.
I made no new years resolutions – I am happy with my life, and deciding to do more than I currently am would be irresponsible to my relationships, existing commitments, health and happiness. I had a great two weeks off from work and returned feeling refreshed and ready for new challenges. Similarly, I am looking forward to the two new night classes and picking up some fresh new professional perspective. It seems a lot of my peers are also re-engaging or continuing in education at different levels – it is invigorating to be around a variety of involvement. That has a synergistic, motivating effect.
The inspiration for the next part of this post comes from Yule Heibel’s post on “Freshness.” I commented, leaving half a blog post without a beginning, and left it at that. Now that I have happened upon the beginning it makes sense to post that comment and elaborate.

a gentleman and a scholar?

There is a part of me that is very academic. Sometimes it shows up at work – and I’m not certain it should, and then other times my professional get-things-done approach shows up at school and I’m not certain it should be there either. In any circumstance, I put limits on those approaches to make sure they make sense within context, but to say I am 100% academic or 100% business would be false – I like parts of both and don’t see them as mutually exclusive thinking spaces. All that said, after I finished my Business Administration diploma (they call these things Associate Degrees?) in 2002, I was more than happy to spend some time away from school. I had had enough. Perhaps I’ll feel that way again in 2012, but it is too hard to say right now.
Some things have changed – my scholarly approach is different, my course load is much more reasonable, and since I am also working at the same time, I don’t feel as though my career is on hold now. There are a few other factors that have changed.
Sometimes you have to leave something before you can come back to it. I feel that way about composing music as well. Speaking of, I have some new material coming out soon on Pacific Front, but I should save that for another time. It has become late indeed, so I will leave you – and the day – with a question or three:
What reasons would you have for going back into university or college after starting a career? Would you do it? Are you doing it?

4 thoughts on “getting a grip”

  1. Hi Davin,
    I also currently have my Business Administration degree.
    I think it is important to have some time for work experience or world experience before going back to school. School can be a bubble and I think time away from it is necessary.
    I like the idea of continuing education. I would like to get my MBA one day, but not at this point in my career. I want to wait until I am more stable financially, until I am sure about what kind of career changes I would like to make.
    The way that education and careers can intertwine is such a blessing. Both contribute to one another, and yet can be a “break” from each other.

  2. Davin, once again you inspired more conversation in me than I felt comfortable flooding your comments with!
    In short, I am on track with your thinking – recently enrolled at the U of T for a continuing education PR/publicity certificate, which will help lead me down a new career path and will also satisfy my hunger for greater achievement. As per your question why? Well, there you go – because I feel school will provide me with greater defined opportunities and also because I want to grow larger than I currently am and think bigger than I currently do.
    Why now – well, as put by vancityallie and yourself, it’s about timing – school for the sake of school is, while necessary, not always purposeful. Continuing ed/post-graduate degrees are so much more wonderful because often times they are undertaken once the student has established a direction which they want to go, for objectives that are better understood and thought out, and the resultant education contributes immediately to their work and their work to their school. Not to mention leveraging prospects for career advancement, the network of colleagues and friends you build while at school, etc. etc.

  3. vested interest in the textbook industry—online resources=less money for instructors who use the texts as well as those who write them.

  4. @Allie: Agreed about the intertwining. Both angles can be refreshing.
    @Craig: I think you’ll do well in that program. And please don’t hold back in the comments area, it’s for expressing yourself! Glad to see you commenting.
    @LHANSBERGER: All makes sense when you put it that way.

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