Experiential Learning

What is experiential learning? Simply put, learning through experience.

This is what graduation has come down to: my ability to take everything I have learned in my classes into practice. I can develop a marketing plan for a product. I can develop PowerPoint presentations. I can perform research, lots of it. I can cite my research resources in APA format. I can write essays, business memos, emails to colleagues, and so much more. I can plan and prepare for the on boarding and training of many employees at a time, conduct meetings in a virtual environment. I am more comfortable with public speaking.

I feel like the better question right now is “What can’t I do?” That is the attitude I am leaving Kaplan University with. That is the attitude I want as a professional. This isn’t the “what can’t I do?” As in I can do everything. It is the attitude of if I don’t know, I will ask, research, find out, and learn. I know I can’t learn how to do everything, but I can learn to do a lot.

There are people who can learn by reading, many by listening, and many by doing things hands-on. I think my main way of learning is through hands-on experience, but I do learn through all three methods.

I love to learn new things. I look forward to learning new things. I like to learn different ways of doing things.

I believe a person becomes successful by remaining open to new ideas. Only then will a person find new and efficient ways of doing something. Do you think the post office always used cars and trucks to deliver the mail? No. At different points in time, postal carriers delivered mail by train, by stagecoach, by horse. Society would not advance if it were for new ideas on how to imrove.

My experiential learning experience has allowed me the freedom to be creative and come up with new ways of doing things. I can apply these ideas, successes, and failures to future endeavors. One thing I will always have to remember is that every company is different. What has worked in my internship, might not work for my “big girl job” when I get it.

So here it is, the final week. I have 2 papers to write, 3 discussion boards to participate in, and a final presentation to complete. Right now, I am feeling comfortable and confident. Will that change? Probably. Will it make a difference to get stressed out and worked up? No. It will just make me miserable. So, I am going to focus on being happy, thankful for the experience, and grateful for everyone I have come in contact with these last 10 weeks. Those people have made this a great exerience and I could not have asked for better people to work with.

Here is to finishing strong.

(Sorry if this entry is all over the place, that is where my head is at right now.)

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College After College

I have spent the last two years of my life devoted to family and a new college education. I have been pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Kaplan University Online Campus since May 2014. This has been no easy task, and I have held a 4.0 GPA throughout my college experience.

This is my college after college experience. My first college experience occurred in the years 2007-2009. At that time, I earned an Associates Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. 

I have met many great people, both fellow students, and professors. Many of the professors are also fellow students pursuing other degrees or PHDs. This has been the most challenging and rewarding experience, other than motherhood, in my life.

I am less than two weeks from graduating Suma Cum Laude. In my final term with Kaplan University, I have endeavored in taking Marketing Management and Experiential Learning. My previous coursework ranges from Professional Presence to three different economics courses to many marketing electives. Experiential Learning is where it has all come together in a virtual internship environment.

The organization provides free consulting services to businesses and nonprofit organizations. These services include accounting, social media, business plans, business processes, advertisements, radio advertising through Kaplan Radio, and so much more. I have been a part of the Communications Department and I have loved every minute of my experience. I started off in the Careers Department as a Project Developer, moved up to Careers Manager in 2 weeks, then moved into the VP of Communications position in 5 weeks. Within 5 weeks I was the head of the department I started in. Was I ready for such responsibility? Yes, I was, but I did not think I was ready. I simply took the plunge.

It is about pushing yourself to do something you think you are not ready for. Only then will you be truly ready. In a 10-week internship program, you can’t wait to take leadership roles until you think you are ready because you won’t make it. You won’t learn your limits until you try to push past them. You won’t learn what you are capable of unless you take a chance.

Here I am, the VP of Communications with less than 2 weeks left in the program. I have accomplished a lot. I have provided fresh ideas, made some changes to the structure of the department, and led the onboarding of new interns in the department. Here I am, less than 2 weeks away from graduation, feeling overwhelmed with the courseload, assignments, and responsibilities. It was this week that has pushed me to the ledge. It was this week that I took a step to the side and back to move away from the ledge and log off from my email in order to relax and focus on the class assignments. It is what I needed. I learned a limit this week. 

I did not leave my directors and managers without warning. I sent them an email letting them know I would not be checking my email until later today or possibly even tomorrow. I informed them that if they needed me, they could call me. They all have my phone number. They know they can text or call. I am still available should they need me.

An important part of being a professional, a leader, and a manager is knowing when to step back and take that break. Sometimes, we all need a mental health day so we don’t get pushed over the edge into darkness. Into a feeling of regret, frustration, irritability, etc. We need that so we don’t lose our drive, motivation, and love for what we do. We do it so we don’t get burned out. 

I have spent the day listening to my uplifting music that praises God, and my music that just has an upbeat feeling to it. That is my therapy. I am also blessed to have a support system that I can call on to send my daughter to so I can spend time focusing on the school work or just getting away from some responsibility. It is something I need every once in a while.

This is my final curtain call for my educational experience for a while. This virtual internship was challenging and rewarding. I am not the same person I was 8.5 weeks ago. I am not the same person I was 2 years ago when I started this journey. I wish I would have started this blog 2 years ago when I started so I could see where I was and where I am.

So here we go, 2 weeks left and I will have accomplished something I never thought was possible for me, a person who was never really book smart and has never truly been an honor student. I will be graduating WITH HONORS from Kaplan University Online Campus on June 28, 2016.

I thank God for this opportunity, for the people I have met along the way, and the opportunities and doors He has opened up for me. I can sit here and say “I did this,” but it was all in God’s plan for me and I am excited to see where He leads me with my new degree and new knowledge.

This is not where I belong…

This is a song that has been helping me through a stressful time. This song speaks so much truth. The music behind the lyrics has a way of uplifting my mood. The lyrics provide me with hope. This life is only temporary. You can find this song on YouTube here.

This song reminds me that this time I have is temporary and to make the most of it. Don’t focus on the negative things in life, but focus on the positive things in life. Give thanks to God every day for the blessings you have, the people in your life, and even thank Him for the hard times because you will come out stronger, wiser, and more thankful for the good times. 

Where I Belong~Building 429

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing but am I alive
I won’t keep searching for answers that aren’t here to find

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I’m lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
[x2]

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong