This “Never Stop Growing” Advice Really Opened My Eyes
Photo Courtesy of JRobinson
Four years ago, I decided to take the leap and go back to college to get my degree. It was not an easy decision to make. I work full-time as a Community Manager of Camden Lansdowne, a 690 apartment home community in the DC-Metro area, and I have a busy life outside of work too.
My home life consists of a husband of 14 years, a 9-year-old son, and I also attend karate training three nights a week with my son. I kept pushing off going back to school, making every excuse in the books. “I’m too busy,” “It will be too hard,” “I have to start from scratch,” and so many more.
I had come to a crossroads in my career. If I wanted to pursue a management position, having a college degree was going to make a big difference. I decided I was not going to just settle, I was going to keep growing both personally and professionally.
Shortly after that big decision, I began the process of researching Camden’s education assistance program that helps employees who are pursuing higher education. Next thing I knew, I was enrolled in online college courses, with the financial support that Camden provides.
I quickly realized that I only had to set aside a few hours a week to make school fit into my schedule. Spending an hour every few nights after my son went to bed wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be! And with all the life and work experience I gained over the years, most classes were easier than I expected.
I am proud to say that last summer I walked across the stage for my Commencement, and I now have my Bachelor of Science in Management!
At my Commencement, I decided to decorate my cap with something that Keith Oden said at the Camden ACE Awards. He spoke about “Growing with Us” and what it meant to each of us. For me, it meant that for Camden to keep growing, that we as individuals needed to grow, too. I put on my cap the image of the hands holding a tree that was on the mugs we received at ACE last year and the quote, “Never Stop Growing” to signify that we should all continue to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
Does it end now? No! I have found myself wanting to continue to grow and push myself to be better. I don’t plan to go back to school full-time, but I do plan to continue to utilize the money that Camden gives us and slowly chip away at my Master’s degree. I strongly encourage my coworkers and teams to pursue a degree if they can! You don’t have to go back to school full-time, but don’t let $4500 go to waste! As Keith said, “Grow with Us!”