Friday, July 22, 2011

Thoughts on Learning

My goal to pursue a bachelor’s degree is best stated by the founder of Cities Service Company (Citgo), Henry L. Doherty, who stated, “Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.” 
A year and a half ago, I was once again stuck in a routine, unchallenging position. It seemed that all the administrative and management positions required a four year degree. I decided to pursue my lifelong goal of finishing school. Armed with an associates degree plus ten mismatched courses obtained in the last forty years, I applied to Charter Oak State College. My first week was both exhilarating and grueling as I tackled two courses in an eight week period. The work load was immense and one afternoon I just sat forlornly at my computer desk while tears streamed down my cheeks. As I gained my composure, I vowed to forge ahead and do my best. I wasn’t giving up and if I couldn’t handle the academics, at least I tried. Failure, to me is not trying.  To date, I’ve completed thirty additional credits at Charter Oak and the experience has changed my thought process and how I live my life.
There are multiple reasons that propelled me in choosing business administration for a concentration. I am a natural entrepreneur and enjoy being innovative.  My key management strength is getting things done. I function at my best by taking charge, making decisions and finding the strengths in others to work successfully as a team.  Working on team projects in my courses, I either volunteered as team leader or was chosen by members of my group. The business administration concentration is diverse and I’ve been challenged in many areas.  Organizational Behavior taught me to think about motivation in the workplace in an innovative way and the importance of company culture. When asked on an assignment in Business Ethics, “What is one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in you professional or work life?” I answered, “Becoming a better musician and sharing the joy of music with others.”  I am striving to accomplish this goal. Just over a year ago, I started a nonprofit company that provides music for housebound seniors and memorial services. I can see the look of doubt in your eyes, but after extensive research, this was a much needed program. We now have 26 members that play various instruments and/or sing that donate their time. The service is provided for a free will donation or at no charge to those who cannot afford it (although everyone has graciously donated so far).  I can’t begin to explain how rewarding and spiritual this has been, touching the lives of people and their families in need. A course elective in Nonprofit Management was instrumental in guiding me through the start up.
As Erma Bombeck says “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”  I love this quote and it exemplifies that we are here for a purpose and to use what gifts we possess.  As I strive to find out what is important to me and how to achieve happiness, this quote puts a lot into perspective. It’s not the “things” in life that we acquire; it’s the relationships and purpose of life that drives the spark within us.  Living a life of purpose is my greatest goal. My philosophy of life draws from my upbringing and faith incorporating knowledge, values, and ethics in a sweet journey of my personal and business life. How to implement these goals is a constant struggle for me.  Life throws you many unwanted obstacles and it’s the choices that you make in response that makes life more purposeful. Having the ability to learn and grow makes it easy. In finishing my degree at Charter Oak, I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

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