Monday, September 9, 2013

Back to School for Everyone

Now that we are fully in the back to school mode, what does that phrase mean to you?  Have you started your undergraduate or graduate degree?  Have your kids gone back to school?  Are you studying for the GRE, LSAT, or GMAT in hopes of applying to graduate school this year?  Are you preparing for your architectural exams?  Are you thinking of finishing your degree? 

Back to school can mean many different things to many people.  How are you pursuing continual education, either formally or informally?  We are never too young or too old to learn new things.  Have you wanted to learn a new skill or language?  Below are some ideas on how you can continuously learn and grow.  Take advantage of this time to create new opportunities for yourself.  Please post additional comments on how you're going back to school!

10 Ideas on Going "Back to School"
  1. Take a class.  Check out free online courses such as Coursera or Udacity. Does your city offer free or affordable classes at recreation centers? 
  2. Learn a new language.  In the Washington, DC area, I have taken affordable language classes through the Graduate School and the GLN.
  3. Join a professional membership organization.  Click here for a list of DC women's professional organizations.  Do a Google search for organizations in your area.  Search "women" and your specific interest such as "government relations."  Or, do a search for "young professional" and your specific interest.
  4. Join a book club. 
  5. Join a Meetup group near you to explore new interests and meet people who share your passion.
  6. Go to your local library and check out some free books!
  7. Participate in webinars and join listservs to stay current in your field.  Click here for a list of nonprofit career resources.
  8. Find a mentor or career/life coach who can help guide you through your next step.  Also consider how you can mentor someone else.  Mentoring is up, down, and all around.  You are never too old or too young to be a mentor, and to be mentored.
  9. Pick up a new hobby.  I took affordable golf classes in DC through DC Golf.
  10. Visit a museum.  Learn more about history in your area.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the March

Pamela O'Leary, Julian Bond, and Tyrik McKeiver
Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 50th anniversary events for the March on Washington. These are events I will remember as long as I live. I believe it's incredibly important to have events like to this to commemorate how far we have come, but also to make a call to action for what still needs to be done.  I asked my classes at American University and Trinity Washington University two main discussion questions.

If you were in your same position in life fifty years ago, would you have attended the March on Washington? Why or why not?

Fifty years from now, what will the 100th Anniversary of the March on Washington look like? Will it merely be a commemoration or still be a call to action?

Think hard about these questions. Discuss them with your friends and colleagues. Personally, I hope I would have taken the risk, stood for my values, and marched 50 years ago. I pray I will be able to attend the March again 50 years from now. Sadly, I don't think full equality will be realized, and many communities will still be fighting for their rights. I imagine the Latino community will have a dominant presence at the 100th anniversary. I also believe the LGBTQ community will hopefully no longer be fighting for marriage equality, but will still be fighting against many forms of injustice. As our environment continues to degrade, I envision various forms of access to quality air and water may further divide the American public, so environmental justice will be an issue at the 100th Anniversary.

Change takes a long time. The fight for women's right to vote in America began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention. Seventy-two years later in 1920, women in America finally won the right to vote.  In 1923, Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), but today in 2013, the ERA has not passed and women still do not have full constitutional protection against discrimination.

What will you march for today? What will you march for in the future? I'm grateful for everyone who marched 50 years ago, and those who carry the torch today.