Five reasons I went back to school in 201718th December, 2017 by Olivia Michaud
I vividly remember walking out of the hall after my final exam at university, thinking – phew! I was so relieved I would never have to go through that stress again. Who knew that only a few years later, I’d choose to study for a vocational degree?
With 2017 coming to a close, I am wrapping up my final assignment after a year working towards a Chartered Institute of Marketing-accredited degree in Professional Marketing. Here are a few things I learned along the journey:
1. You’re never too old to be a student
Stepping back into a classroom after being ‘out of the game’ for a few years did feel like the first day at school all over again. Once I had lined up by brand new stationery and the lesson started though, I remembered why I had decided to start studying again: I enjoy learning! Ultimately, the desire to discover new things and to broaden your knowledge doesn’t stop when you leave school – it just needs nurturing.
2. A professional degree can be a big commitment – but it’s worth it
Sure – a year-long vocational degree can seem like a big commitment. In my case, I was going to classes once a week after work, studying at home, revising for exams and writing assignments at the weekend. It was also a big investment for Richmond & Towers, which funded my degree. The good news is, the benefits far outweigh all the hardship. Not only was I developing skills for myself (and for the rest of my career), I was also adding value to the business by bolstering my PR and marketing arsenal.
3. Putting theory into practice consolidates learnings
There is one huge advantage of continuous professional development: you can put the theory into practice immediately and consolidate the learnings. Because we all know theory is great, but that textbook case study never quite applies when you suddenly have a client on the other side of the line. And guess what? Those four by four matrices really do make sense once you’ve actually had to use them a few times!
4. Start a degree, make new friends
This is crucial, because which other WhatsApp group would you message at two in the morning the day before assignment submission when you can’t figure out how to format your Word document? These are the friends you can truly count on when it comes to celebratory pizza and wine after exams.
5. There is always something new to learn
In my view, being given the opportunity to do training – from seminars to diplomas – is key to career progression. The PR and marketing industry is evolving at an unprecedented pace. To stay competitive, there will always be something new to get to grips with – whether it’s digital media, strategic planning or even leadership skills.