I am in possession of a wonderful piece of paper: a diploma. A diploma that was hard earned, very expensive, and represents the completion of not one, but two, Bachelor’s degrees. I love my diploma. I love it so much that my dad had it scanned, shrunken, and laminated at FedEx so that I could carry around a copy in my wallet (#notashamed).
The main reason I love my diploma so much is probably because it means I am done with school. Forever. Because I never intend (knock on wood) to go to grad school and I don’t imagine I will wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll go to law school,” either.
No, no. After I grabbed that Bachelor’s that was it for me.
With the exception of that occasional thought that I’ll try and really learn Italian or French the day I can afford Rosetta Stone or that I might want to improve my coding abilities through some at home software kit I get on Amazon, I never intended to take a class again.
Because it was during yesterday’s staff meeting that management encouraged all employees to look into continuing education and workshops to help improve our chosen skills. Then when a colleague, who had also just graduated from college, said she was taking a UCLA Extension course online, entitled “Digital Communications Strategies,” my ears perked up.
So after the meeting I asked her if she could tell me more and she brought down the UCLA Extension Course Catalog. I spent 20 minutes flipping through the whole thing and was surprised when I found there were so many classes I was interested in taking.
Now they weren’t cheap and not all of them were online, which made them a little less desirable to take. But the one I have my eye on is “Social Media and Community Engagement”. It is a journalism course (duh) and is a little less expensive than most ($299). Though it isn’t online, it only meets six times between February and March, for three hours on Monday evenings. And the description is what sold me:
“Tweets, friend requests, Facebook walls, and TwitPics. These are phrases you either encounter daily or they make your head ache. Social media networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr are valuable tools in the digital media landscape, but only if you know how to properly leverage them for professional use. In this course, students set up and/or optimize a Twitter and Facebook page to aggregate news and collect eyewitness accounts in a local context. Through case studies, analysis, and discussion, learn when and how to use these sites–and use them correctly–to increase user activity, solicit feedback, and build an audience, all while maintaining a consistent voice that furthers your professional goals.”
Now I learned a lot from the NYU Journalism Department and I will always be grateful for the wonderful education I received there. But it was a pretty old school curriculum for such a liberal and forward thinking university, meaning we did not end up having a lot of new media related instruction. And if you want to make it in today’s media industry that is what you need to know.
I have learned a lot on my own (as is kinda apparent here) but having a certificate and something official to put on my resume can’t hurt.
So I am thinking about it. And will keep thinking about it. And I will come back to you with my thoughts and a larger post about all of the continuing education options (both online and offline) available to us post grads who don’t intend to get another degree, but want to learn some more.
Final Thought: I know that even if I never go back for another degree, any job I hold will require me to consistently learn new skills and improve old ones. So I should embrace the opportunity. And that is really how we should look at it, isn’t it?
What about you? Would you consider going back to class already? If so, what would you want to learn/would be most helpful for your chosen career path?