Four months ago, I made my way to BC after work as I have done twice a week for the last three years, navigated my way to Stokes Hall (a foreign place for someone who has only had classes in Fulton), sat down in an unconventional classroom, and prepared to learn about social media, emerging technology, and digital business. Two and a half hours later, as I walked from Stokes Hall back to the parking garage, I thought, “What did I just get myself into?” The amount of weekly deliverables seemed like a little too much to take on as a part-time student heading into a busy quarter at work, and frankly the thought of sending Tweets into the universe was more than a little daunting. I spent the next few days looking over the course list for the semester, seriously debating whether switching into an operations class would be a better play. Fast forward to today, and I am happy to be standing at the other end of the semester, confident that I made the right decision to stay in the course and try something different. If I could go back to that first week and tell myself a few things after knowing what I do now, I would certainly have a few things to say. So, this final post is a letter to my pre-ISYS6621 self.
Dear Pre-ISYS6621 Self,
At the end of this semester, you are going to think to yourself, “Wow, that went by quickly. And it wasn’t so bad!” So stop debating whether or not to switch out of the course and start writing your Initial Thoughts blog post.
Speaking of blog posts, it’s going to take a little time to get used to sharing your work for the whole class to read, but this is going to be one of your favorite parts of the class. You will figure out what to write about (I know, there’s a lot out there) and you’ll learn a lot from all of the research you’ll do along the way. You will end up with a wide variety of topics to look back on, and the process of publishing will get progressively easier. You’ll look forward to reading and commenting on other blogs each week and you’ll learn more about the current and future state of the digital world through these posts than you even realize. You’re going to be inspired by your fellow classmates to write high quality content that people will in turn want to read and comment on.
By the way, your classmates will play a much larger role in your learning experience than any other class you’ve taken. Not only will you learn from their blog posts, but you’ll get to hear different viewpoints in class, too, from Twitter and group discussions. You’ll appreciate having a mix of both undergrad and grad students in the class and you’ll look forward to everyone’s presentations since they will all be unique and you’ll be able to take away something from each one. Each week’s class is going to fly by because you’ll spend the entire 2.5 hours talking about interesting topics in a different format, rather than be lectured to. You’ll look forward to all of the guest speakers that come in, because they all come from different backgrounds and have expertise in various fields. Believe it or not, you will finally have a better understanding of what blockchain actually is.
You’re thinking right now that you’ll set up a Twitter account for this class, use our hashtag when you Tweet, and then delete your account at the end of the semester. Well, you’re going to change your mind. You might not actively Tweet after this semester is over, but your view of Twitter as a source of news will change. You’ll consider keeping your account active for a little while longer to keep up with the accounts you’ve started to follow thanks to this class, and perhaps add some more over time. And while we’re on the topic of social media, you’ll realize that although there’s a lot of negative press out there, there actually are ways that social media can be used for good. There are going to be plenty of blog posts and presentations touching on this subject and you’ll be happy to learn from them.
Overall, you will be grateful for the chance to experience this class and dive into topics that you’re not as familiar with. You’ll greatly expand your ability to talk about technological topics beyond just using buzzwords, and you’ll be surprised that you’ll find a way to connect your job and industry into this class through your presentation. One day when you think back to your grad school years, this class will stand out as one that you won’t forget.
Hang in there, and don’t procrastinate writing your blog posts. It will all be worth it!
~ Post-ISYS6621 Self