They say it is a true test of character to see how you react when things are going wrong. If that’s true, then my character type is the avoider. I walk away. On to the next thing. No time to digest that, invest in that, learn from that — it’s too difficult! Off to something else!
I’m definitely not proud of this, and I know those few times I stayed and fought, it ended up being worth the fight.
College is one of those fights for me.
Education in general was always a challenge. In high school, I had a hard time paying attention to the subjects that didn’t interest me. The areas I liked, I soared. I was in AP English, but barely scraped by in math and science. During my freshman year of college, I was doing great in all of my writing-intensive classes, but I was hopeless when it came to anything that required graph paper or a lab.
Eventually, I gave up. I walked away. Much later in life, I realized that, as they say, knowledge really is power.
We are so lucky to be alive in this era: There is a website where you can take college courses for free! Free is the best part, as financial strain was the tipping point for me quitting school in my youth.
Coursera.com grants access to some of the world’s leading institutions to offer hundreds of courses online that are open to anyone over the age of 13. It bases its vision on the idea that online learning plays a significant role in lifelong education.
Instead of struggling through an overly negative Facebook feed, I can be struggling through Reasoning & Data Analysis at Duke University, Introduction to Mu sic Production or Songwriting at Berklee College of Music, or Technology Entrepreneurship at Stanford.
Even those of you who already have fought through school may want more. How about Leading Innovation in Arts & Culture from Vanderbilt University? Or Effective Altruism from Princeton University. Who doesn’t need to know about doing the most good they can? Especially when you can learn this for free from an Ivy League school.
In addition to schools, there also are organizations that offer courses: The Museum of Modern Art has Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art.
When searching through the courses, you can use filters to find subjects you’re interested in. Food and nutrition, law, medicine, social sciences, music, art and even (ugh) math are only some in the extensive list.
Of course, these will not qualify you for official credit or any official standing at any of the institutions. But for me, already having been working in my field for quite some time, the knowledge itself is much more valuable than a piece of paper at this point.
My LinkedIn account wants me to fill in where I went to school every time I log in. It’s like this open wound in my career history saying, “Are you SURE you have nothing to show for yourself?”
Well, now I can use a much more powerful click when I select “Ignore.”
Christa Wittmier is “SUPERCW” on all social media. Find her on Snapchat, SoundCloud, Twitter, Vine and Instagram. By night, she is known as DJ SuperCW. By day, she is known as senior marketing director for Young’s Market Company of Hawaii. Her nightlife blog SuperCity runs every Wednesday on HonoluluPulse.com.