Don't get me wrong. I enjoy researching and writing. It was fun, and I'll continue to do it because I basically have to continue what I started in order to build up my resume more. Plus, it is important to keep up with new discoveries in teaching if I am to stay in this field. However, for the past two years, I was dying to take some more online classes JUST FOR ME. Art Journaling, scrapbooking, digital techniques, etc. Opportunities to take classes kept passing me by, and I was only signing up for One Little Word because it required very little time to complete the assignments each month.
Now it is January 2014. I am 5 months out of grad school. My word for 2014 is SIMPLIFY. And, I am taking 3 online classes. Yup, three. Not quite good at the SIMPLIFY stuff yet.
First, I am taking One Little Word taught by Ali Edwards, as I wrote about in the previous post. I am planning to update my blog regarding my progress with this word, but please excuse me if I fail or don't show much progress. Something positive always comes out of these words of the year. My next post will be about January's assignment.
Second, I am taking Cathy Zielske's Move Well Eat Well Jumpstart, hosted by Big Picture Classes. Why complicate my life with something that looks like a diet? I don't know. Maybe it's because I am a die-hard fan of Cathy Z and hadn't taken any of her classes since the fall of 2010. I needed a good dose of her. Or maybe I wanted the jumpstart in January to get me back on track for my diet. I will update about my progress, but just FYI, this class is only one month long. After that, it's self-paced and I would only need to check in about once a month. For January though, the assignments are daily! However, they are not difficult, and I printed out the cards beforehand so I only have to find the right cards for each day, fill them out or journal on them, and then put them in the album. Easy peasy. The hard part is actually moving my body and eating well. Doesn't always happen in the same day. I am thinking about getting a FitBit because I am the kind of person who thinks that new technology will help me move my body and eat well. Yes, I admit that I am a sucker for technology.
Third, I am taking a course called The Gifts of Imperfection, taught by Brene Brown. If you don't know her, she is a researcher on human behavior, specializing in shame. Sound weird? This class was offered last November, and I really wanted to enroll, but there was an art journaling component. I knew nothing about art journaling. Then I was reminded that while in grad school, I had been hearing about art journaling off and on and had wanted to learn how to do it. I had promised myself to figure it out after grad school finished. This reminder led me to another class called hosted by A Beautiful Mess called Art Journal All Year, and I decided to enroll in that one instead. I'd been slowly working my way through the challenges since November. Then, just last week, the Brene Brown course was offered once again, due to its popularity, so I decided to take the plunge. Two friends in Japan also enrolled, so I am excited to share the experience with them.
Finally, about a year ago, one of these same friends recommended the books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, both by Gretchen Rubin. We decided to start our own Happiness Project group and got a few other friends and acquaintances involved. It's a secret/closed Facebook group in which we share our monthly goals and then report back at the end of each month. In between, we discuss our minor successes and challenges regarding our progress and encourage each other along the way. Last year, my goals often related to my word for the year, MOVE. Each member was working on her own issues, and each one of us came out having learned something significant about ourselves by the end of the year. It's a small group, but it ties in quite well with the above 3 courses.
So, just for fun, I am planning to share my progress on this blog. The good and the bad. As my friend Louise says, this helps make us accountable for our actions throughout the year and it's a good record to look back on.