There’s officially a week left of the spring semester, which means I should be graduating exactly one year from today. I can’t help but reflect on this whirlwind of a year. This past weekend, I drove cross-country with my dad from Illinois to Oregon and am officially living in the Pacific Northwest. The stresses of life happen to all of us, but on top of school, work, my social life, and Covid-19 still being something to worry about, I feel lucky to come out of these past few months still standing. Even though grad school can be stressful, the classes I’ve taken have been worth the stress.
The thing I have loved most about my time at Columbia is working with professors who have experience in the industry they are teaching. I took New Media Strategies and Digital Content and Analytics in the fall. Both were taught by passionate professors whose goals weren’t to trick me and give me hours of homework, but to help me and make sure I really felt like taking their class was worth my while, which I never experienced in high school or undergrad. From the start of my digital content and analytics class, Professor Minsky made sure the homework we received from him would help us in the future, including our first homework assignment, which was getting a certification in Google Analytics. Throughout the semester, we used a program called Stukent, which gave us projects to simulate creating digital ads. In the class, there were students like me who have been in marketing for a few years and students who were completely new to the marketing space and throughout the semester we all learned from each other. I came out of the class with an A and multiple certifications that I can proudly put on my resume.
The spring semester gave me new classes, but a similar experience when it came to the dedication and patience of my professors. As someone with a creative background, I have toyed with the idea of eventually freelancing full-time or starting my own business. The thought of doing either honestly scares me to death, from the instability of not having a paycheck every two weeks to the pressure of having to do everything myself from scratch. Just the thought of it overwhelmed me, so to get out of my comfort zone, I chose to take a Marketing For Entrepreneurs class, and I’m so glad I did! From the first day of class, Professor Ravanas made the students not only feel comfortable sharing their ideas, but he gave constructive criticism and gave me some great tools to start with if I eventually want to start my own company. I never thought I would feel confident after that class, but after presenting my finished marketing plan to the class, I feel confident in saying I could start my own company today if I wanted to which is a great feeling. This spring, I also took the class Interface Design. This subject was something I never thought I would be interested in, and I also had no idea what it was until halfway through the first class. I am one of three students in this class. If I had signed up for a course in undergrad that only had three students in it, that class would have for sure been canceled for the semester. Having that much face time with a professor every week has opened my eyes to a completely new industry and has made me learn so much more than I would have if I was in a lecture hall full of hundreds of students.
As the spring semester comes to a close, I’m looking forward to a short break and getting back into a new set of classes this summer. I hope I continue to learn, grow and surprise myself after each class.