I’ve always loved learning. My mother often jokes about how, when I was younger, I would ask questions of my teachers like “why” and “how” until they were on the verge of exasperation. I’m still like that in a lot of ways: curious, fascinated by how and why things work, and of course, a little annoying about it.
If college were free (don’t worry -- I’m not here to start a political argument about that), I would never stop going to school. I would seriously be a student for life, earning degree upon degree until my inevitable passing. But college isn’t free, and I’m still paying off what’s left of my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I’ve also always wanted to earn a doctorate degree but I’m pretty short on time and money at the moment, so I’m not sure I’ll ever make that happen.
A therapist would probably say I’m scared of not learning new things, and they’d probably be right. While I do intensely enjoy the feeling that comes with learning something new, I’m self-aware enough to realize that deep down, I’m scared of not knowing things, especially when it comes to my career. Professionally, I’m fearful of being “left behind” because I’ve seen it happen to numerous people who failed to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of sports and technology.
With these things in mind, I spent a lot of my maternity leave wondering how I could move forward. As mentioned above, I don’t exactly have the time or money for an additional degree, and while I enjoy networking from my favorite place on the internet, Twitter, actual networking functions like conferences and conventions don’t really lend well to my introverted personally, which I touch on here. I also wanted something that I could add to my resume, so that limited my options. After a lot of research and convincing my husband, I decided to pursue an online professional certificate.
My main goal in pursuing this certificate is to learn more about an area that I am both interested in and know little about. I am fascinated by how sports teams, especially those in the college sector, drive revenue and function as businesses, though so many departments within those organizations are not business-minded. My current role is in communications and PR, but I have had the opportunity to assist our digital department with email marketing for the last two years and have learned SO MUCH through that responsibility. When deciding what type of professional certificate I wanted to pursue, the answer came easily: digital marketing.
I looked for the most cost-effective option I could find, and was pleased to find that the Digital Marketing Fundamentals course through the University of Vermont was one of the highest ranked options out there as well as one of the most affordable. I talked things through with my husband and he agreed that it sounded like a good move professionally, so I signed up, with the caveat that this would be my birthday present.
At this point, I’m just over halfway through the eight-week course and am so glad that I took the leap and signed up. I’ve got a lot going on personally (who doesn’t?) but taking a few hours out of my week to invest in myself professionally feels almost like a breath of fresh air. Even though it’s summer and my sports aren’t fully in season yet, I often feel like my colleagues and I are just racing through our to-do lists so that we can catch up or simply stay caught-up. My job makes me feel fulfilled, but rarely do I feel like I am moving forward as a career-woman.
We speak a lot on this website about investing in ourselves, whether it be through self-care, therapy, positive self-talk, networking, or looking for a new job. I am thankful to be at a point in my life where I am happy personally, but I believe it’s okay to acknowledge that I’m looking for new challenges and opportunities when it comes to my professional goals. Investing in myself in this manner comes at a cost, both financially and of my limited time, but it has given me a renewed sense of direction in my career. To me, that’s priceless.