In 2017, I had a lot of dreams. The problem was that I did not even try to achieve most of them. I just put them in the "some day" category and slowly forgot all about them.
My mother even asked me, “Tobi, what is the one thing you want to be good at this year?”, and I told her, "Photography.” She then asked how I planned to develop that skill, and I told her there were a few photography classes in Charlotte that I wanted to take. I said I would sign up and start learning as soon as my schedule allowed. My mom is a big proponent of side hustles. Safe to say, by the end of 2017, I still hadn't taken any lessons or attempted to better myself in something I am actually passionate about.
This year, I decided not to make any concrete resolutions like I normally do (except this one). I decided to just go with the flow, stop being hard on myself for my past failures, and just do what makes me happy. No pressure. Just fun!
Lately, I’ve become obsessed with picking up new skills; at SkillPop to be precise. Like the name infers, SkillPop aims to offer "pop up classes in your community". They started in Charlotte NC, and have since expanded to Raleigh-Durham, Nashville, and Greenville.
Since learning about them in January, I have attended four of their classes and have a long list of classes I am interested in taking soon like knitting (I only know how to crotchet), make up, and yes, you guessed it, photography.
I took this pic of the guys from Spiracle who taught my Video Storytelling class
As a student, I did not like school, studying, lessons, and so on. Yet here I am, signing myself up for classes? Who would have thought? To be fair, I never really appreciated school and the importance of getting a good education until I was older and actually understood just how expensive schools are (especially when you're an international student), and how important those degrees are in the job market. My eyes really opened when I had to take the GRE and GMAT, fill out a bunch of grad. school applications (one with a video interview requirement), and actually received the tuition bill for my Master's program. All of this hard work had to pay off.
There is a big difference between your parent enrolling you in school, and self enrolling in classes through SkillPop; other than the fact that there are no exams that is. Here I am signing myself up only for classes I am interested in and think is worth the money. I am investing (quite literally) in myself. What I get or don't get out of it is all on me. If it goes well, then I can say I picked up some nice new skills in 2 hours. That's money and time well spent. If it goes horribly wrong or isn’t the class I thought it would be, guess what, I just lost $20 and 2 hours. I’ll be just fine. Better luck next time!
The classes are usually in the evenings after work or on weekends. All my classes have gone from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. I always get to meet the nicest people with very interesting stories/jobs and the best part is that we already have something in common: we are both terrible at whatever the subject of today's class is. I went to a really cool marketing class where we actually were encouraged to bring wine and share with others. It was a really nice way to get to know your "classmates".
Also, the teachers are so nice. They often share their contact information with you in case you have more questions later or just want to connect with them. This is great networking especially if you are looking to build your industry contacts, find a job in that field, or if you want to book their services in future.
The next day, SkillPop sends you a thank you note, as well as the PowerPoint presentation used in class so you can refer back to them if you didn't take advantage of the paper and pen they offer to help you jot down some notes. Lastly, you also get a survey so that you can let them know how you liked the class (either way) so they can improve on it). So far, I haven't had any complaints.
In my last class, the teacher actually decided to make the survey more fun by offering a $50 visa gift card as a raffle prize if we would fill out a contact card/survey (he had printed copies) and turn them in folded. I got to draw the lucky winner. It wasn't me.
My learning journey has only just begun. There are still many months left in this year. Matter of fact, I think this is going to be more of a lifestyle adaptation. I don't want to close myself off to new opportunities and new skills and experiences.
Be on the look out for more posts like this where I share new learning tools I'm trying. I have my eyes on Lynda.com and Skillshare next.
Please leave a comment sharing how you are picking up new skills and learning? Maybe we can help each other grow in wisdom and experiences.
Thanks for stopping by Tobi's Corner. Catch you on the next one.
*This is not a sponsored post. These are my views and opinions being expressed here.