Hi Everyone. Meet Art.
Art – this is Everyone.
Art is a friend of mine from way back when (we were friends as teenagers — if you must know, we both played various forms of saxophone in the Optimist Youth Band in San Diego — we marched, we jazzed, and we big-banded it until the cows came home).
Optimist Youth Jazz Band, circa 1983 – I am smack dab in the middle on tenor and Art is to my left on bari with his music partially covering his face.
Art and I drifted apart 20+ years ago, but recently became friends again through Facebook. Turns out we have a lot in common still, including the fact that we both work in higher education, we both write a blog with our students in mind, we both study and practice mentoring-based approaches to teaching and learning and the educational uses of social media, and we both hate eggplant. (Ok, only I hate eggplant, but it seems like he should too.)
Art is now Director of Discovery Advising at Virginia Commonwealth University. Recently he wrote a post in his blog Major Discoveries called “Time is a Man-Made Concept” and I wanted to share some of the key concepts he touched on because he totally nailed some important considerations for adult learners in higher ed (Art started his Bachelor’s degree at 25 and was in no way a “typical” 18-22 year old college undergrad). You can read his whole post to learn more about his situation, but here are some excerpts, with my comments:
1) Art wrote: “Graduate school admissions officers and employers do not confuse efficiency with effectiveness–neither should you.”
I agree. While financial considerations are certainly important for you — saving time can often also mean saving money on tuition and other educational expenses — effectiveness is what really counts. What you learn, and I might add how well you keep learning, versus how long it took you to get your degree, is really what employers and graduate school admissions folks are interested in. That you are earning or have earned a degree is key — not that it might have taken you 20 years to do so. (In fact, we have heard from employers that older students who go back to school can be more attractive employees anyway because you demonstrate persistence, multitasking, and lots of “real-world” experience.)
2) Art wrote: “Even if your road to graduation or your first professional position isn’t a straight line in one direction, you should view any left or right turns along the way as detours that offer you opportunities to gain valuable life experience.”
You all know this already as these detours have, for many of you, defined how you’ve gotten here to begin with. That being said, there will probably continue to be detours now that you are here. And that’s ok . . . just keep in contact with us to help you navigate the roads so that you don’t sacrifice your learning and education because you didn’t have a map.
3) Art wrote: “Could I have returned [to college] sooner? Yes, had I planned better. Would my life be any better today? No idea, I don’t own a crystal ball or believe in second guessing life in that way.”
I agree. No point in worrying about what you didn’t do, when you didn’t do it, or why you didn’t do it then. What’s important is that you are here, now, doing it. Whether you are 35 or 75, “be here now” seems like an important idea to carry forward.
So, these are my reflections on his reflections … I hope you’ve found them helpful.
And Now for a Word from our Sponsors
If you are interested in learning more about social media, Art and I are co-teaching a class this summer for Marylhurst. Here are the details:
Introduction to Social Media Communications: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and More
CCM 366-1E or CCM 006-1E — 1-credit or 1 CEU
8/3 – 8/21, online
In this online workshop, learners will be introduced to social media tools and concepts, focusing on how social media technologies can affect their work, learning, and life. Through hands-on demonstration and use of a variety of social media tools such as blogs, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, RSS, wikis, podcasting, and social bookmarking, participants will learn how these tools are shaping modern communication and how to incorporate them into everyday business, educational, and personal communications. We will also address topics such as digital etiquette, privacy, digital trails, and developing community.