Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Educate Yourself

Education has always been important in my family. Both of my parents were valedictorians of their respective high school classes. My father was salutatorian in his college class at Alabama State University, majoring in chemistry. He received his Master’s degree from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. If he hadn’t fallen in love with coaching basketball, I am sure he would have pursued his doctorate degree.

My mother never went to college but she raised two children who did. My sister, Krystal, and I both graduated from Auburn University. We both have our Master’s degrees, and she is currently pursuing her doctorate degree. I am not writing this to impress you, but I do want to impress upon you just how important learning is to my family.

However, I was probably the worst classroom student of anyone in the bunch. I goofed off a lot. Many of my teachers said that I could do better and perhaps they were right. My best grades came during my junior and senior years in college when the light bulb finally came on—better late than never.

I had been in the workforce for nearly 12 years before I decided to go back to school and get my Master’s degree. I was so nervous that I put it off that long but it turned out to be one of the most rewarding educational experiences of my life. And to have my daughters watch me walk across the stage and receive my degree was priceless. That meant more to me than anything.

When I began my career at the Center for Servant Leadership, my former manager told me to put as many tools in my toolbox as I possibly could. This is something that I constantly stress to workers in any organization. If your company is going to pay for you to further your education, by all means do it. No matter the class. It could be something as simple as attending a computer workshop.

Education is not just limited to the classroom. Most of my learning has come well since I graduated from school. I love to travel. When I visit different cities, I like to get out and explore the town and get a sense of its history. It doesn’t have to be relegated to visiting sites like the Rockefeller Center in New York City or the Willis Tower in Chicago. One of my favorite destinations is the Dublin, Georgia, which is a two-hour and twenty minute drive south of Columbus. I have been so many times that I have established some nice relationships with so many people there.

What about you? What are you putting in your toolbox these days? What is your favorite means of education?

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