What I Learned About Myself in School

July 12, 2012

After twenty-four months, 22 classes, 90 assignments (yes, I went back and counted), and countless discussion forums, Facebook posts and Skype sessions, I’m finally done my degree. Taking the first two years I did at Camosun College, I finished my Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication through distance education at Royal Roads University, and couldn’t be happier with my decision to do so.

With that being said, one of the toughest questions to answer while in school has been what I can/want to do with my degree. I have come up with a few answers to that question, and more recently have discovered how it can help me in the personal finance community, but I would be lying if I said I knew exactly what I wanted my career to look like. What I can answer, instead, is what I learned about myself in school. And it should come as no surprise that my biggest lessons were taught by my personal experiences.

Apparently, I can multitask.
On top of working full-time, I started this program knowing it would take up a good portion of my spare time. Halfway through my degree, I started this blog. At first, I wrote whenever I needed to express how I was feeling. After a while, I started to notice which days got the most views and began sticking to somewhat of an editorial calendar. So, on top of my homework deadlines, I was also giving myself blog deadlines. Then, with the help of this blog, I started working with LearnVest and writing for a couple of other sites. With that came more and more and more deadlines…

I am passionate about prioritizing.
Despite enjoying some of the deadline madness, I have always appreciated relaxing and unwinding. I spent countless Saturday mornings on the couch, catching up on shows I had PVR’d throughout the week, and looking at nothing online but Pinterest and Twitter. I also listened to my body and, even if I wanted to finish something by a certain time, took a nap or went to bed when I needed to. And coffee, lunch, dinner and movie dates with family and friends were sometimes few and far between, so I worked hard to meet all of my deadlines and soaked up the moments I wasn’t in front of my laptop.

I love sharing what I know and learning what I don’t.
If I was an expert at anything, I wouldn’t be writing this post. Heck, I wouldn’t have gone to school! But what both my education and this blog have taught me is that I enjoy sharing my experiences and learning from others’. My degree taught me to open my mind to new ideas and blogging has taught me not to be ashamed of the errors I have made. I’m no longer scared to speak up when its appropriate to or ask for clarification of anything I do not understand. By being honest with both myself and you all, I have learned to accept help, help others, and be grateful for everything I have learned along the way.

Looking at these lessons, I can now list a few stereotypical skills on my résumé: project management, public speaking, teamwork, time management, etc. But words don’t mean anything, until you can explain how you gained each one of those skills.

What’s one thing you learned about yourself in school?

  • Rob July 12, 2012 at 5:18 am

    “What’s one thing you learned about yourself in school?”
    Well, back in the day (to quote a phrase), when I was still in high school I knew that I was highly organized, loved challenges, was very detailed, and (although hard working) always looked as ways of “working smart” – thinking outside the box, whenever possible. Based on what you write I would suggest that you have the talent to becoming a successful computer project leader/manager some day (which is what I am). You know your strengths and you are aware of your weaknesses and areas for improvement. I woud say that you’re well on your way further career wise than most people at your young age.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life July 12, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Those are some great skills! For me, I didn’t really realize all that school has taught me until I got out in the work force. I’ve found out that I’m really good at: leading a team, effective time management, and working on a deadline (this I thrive at). I think these skills are more valuable than any of the actual information I learned in school.

    • Cait July 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      I also love working on a deadline; I think it’s when you can get most creative.

  • Michelle July 12, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Congrats on being done! I learned a lot about myself as well. I’m amazed that I can prioritize and be as efficient as I am.

  • bogofdebt July 12, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Congrats at being done! And those are some awesome skill sets. I am also really good at multitasking and meeting deadlines–I enjoy working against a clock.

  • Caitlin July 12, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Congrats on your graduation! I can’t wait to see where life takes you next.

    I think one of the most important lessons I learned was that no matter what I am faced with (being half way across the country from my family with no relative near me, major car accident, etc), I will be okay. It made me trust myself, my judgment, and my ability to accomplish my dreams.

  • iwtkangaroo July 12, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Congrats! I gained a lot of great skills while in school but what felt better was graduating (felt like I lost 50 pounds instantly)!

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses (@momoneymohouses) July 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I think the main thing I learned from finishing my degree was that when I set my mind to something, I can accomplish almost anything. I was in a really competitive program in which they actually kick about 5 students out after the first two years, and besides not being a very technical person, I persevered and finished the program (also it was a largely male program so it was cool to be one of the few females to graduate with the degree). I sure loved school but I’m so happy to be done!

  • centsofacountrygirl July 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Congrats on finishing up! I hope you let out a big sigh of relief when you sent that last assignment in.

    Through my long haul through school, I learned that I excel at working independently and that I’m hard-headed enough to bash my way through almost anything. I also learned that I can’t do all-nighters.

    • Cait July 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      I did breathe a sigh of relief but it was also fairly… anticlimactic? Oh well, haha.

  • eemusings July 13, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Congratulations!!! Feels good doesn’t it?

    What I learned was that quite frankly (and this had nothing to actually do with my education) is that I can get through anything. Burglaries. Car accidents. Layoffs. Relationship woes. Money problems. My last year especially was the toughest year of my life, and I made it through, kicking and screaming, but whole.

    PS – I’ve never noticed that days of the week makes any difference to my blog traffic. Much like news media, it seems it’s all about content. Good content = views.

    • Cait July 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Weekends are always quiet, in the PF blogosphere, so I try not to post much then.

      • eemusings July 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        well, that’s true of web traffic as a whole. Occasionally I get guest bloggers (at work) asking about what days and times are best – and I always tell them it doesn’t make a difference, whether it’s Tuesday morning or Thursday afternoon. I obviously can’t speak for every website out there, but in my experience Mon-Fri is a level playing ground.

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  • belowhermeans July 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Having put myself through school, I learned that I’m not a quitter. It added a huge value to my life knowing this.

  • Justin January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Hi there!
    im about to enter into the same pro-comm program at royal roads.
    any advice? anything.. small or big. more the better.
    it would be greatly appreciated!