I recently had my first milestone at my new job; six months on the job in a very different environment still working with students everyday.
It has been a bit of a whirlwind that finally feels like it is settling down. I moved and started this job over the course of a weekend, didn't have a place to live setup, but it was all for the best. I love this company and how it works, the impact we have on students all over the country (and world), the opportunities I am granted, as well as the possibilities of where I could go with this team.
Here are some specific highlights from my time so far:
Every day is a holiday...
Something that has been really great about my experience so far has been that I've been able to have fun and do things I wouldn't be able to elsewhere. We've had several parties for various occasions over the past six months (Employee Appreciation. Impact Report Release, Halloween, to name a few), I went to our company meeting in Orlando, and I've also gotten to go to cool places in DC and will go to NYC next month for our program's student Immersions. I'll have the opportunity to go to other places next year as well as work out of any of our offices across the country if I want to. Just appreciating the awesome things I get to do alongside the work I do everyday for my students has made this time really precious. Our work is hard, but it is important to be mindful and take time to value everything that is given to us. As our CEO says, "Every day is a holiday, every meal is a feast".
A Sense of Urgency
A big change over the past six months has been moving from a campus to a business. We work with students and colleges every day, but our culture and the way we do things is very different. We're a higher ed tech company that moves quick and is always trying to improve. We're in the business of doing right by our students and partners, so that's always a driving force, but we also are trying to grow as an organization. It has been hard at times, but more often than not, I feel like this is the type of vibe I work best in. There is an energy and vibrancy that compels you to do better. I didn't feel that as much at any past institution I've been at, not to say it doesn't exist, but it feels like it is harder at a venerable institution that might be more slow moving.
The Future of Higher Ed
Online education is experiencing a resurgence right now as best practices are solidified and quality is able to scale. We're evolving past MOOCs and simple platforms. We're moving on to replicating what works best from on-campus education, augmenting it with technology, and serving it up to the world. We're bringing amazing institutions to places they've never been and expanding their student base way faster than they ever could on-campus. It's really impressive to behold!