I spent the week of July 25-29 in Dahlonega, GA. That’s pronounced “Da-LON-ah-gah” and NOT “Dal-oh-NAY-gah” as I found out after I pronounced it incorrectly for almost three days. You may be wondering what I was doing in a city in Georgia you’ve probably never heard of. Well, I was going back to college…Marketing College, that is.
To be even more specific, I was attending the Southeast Tourism Society‘s Marketing College at North Georgia College & State University. I was there on behalf of Paramore as we do a lot of business in the tourism industry and work with the Southeast Tourism Society. Let me start off by saying that I had a blast and now I’d like to tell you why from the perspective of a first-year STS Marketing College student.
STS Marketing College happens each year for one week in July. The entire program takes three years to complete and this was my first year, essentially making me a Freshman. I arrived with my toothbrush, clothes and clean sheets for my bed (oh yeah, did I mention we stayed in the dorms to authenticate the college experience?). I was ready to start college.
Classes went from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon with a break for lunch and a few snack breaks thrown in there too. The topics covered everything from how to create the perfect travel brochure, to integrating social media into your travel tourism, all the way to how to properly research and request a grant from the local government. By the end of it, I felt like my brain had been pounded into a mush of new knowledge.
It’s Not What You Know…
As a social strategist, I had an amazing time absorbing information about our clients’ industry and seeing the conversation from a different direction, giving me all new insight about where our tourism partners are coming from. But as much as I learned and brought back with me, the most enjoyable and enriching part of the entire trip was the connections I made and the people I met along the way.
The true joys of any college experience are the friends made and memories shared and that’s exactly what STS Marketing College offered outside of the robust curriculum. The staff was amazing and the teachers were awesome, but the classmates truly made the trip worth it. After a long day of classes, people would clean up and then go out and eat together. After that, we’d either hit up a local establishment for some karaoke or a dance contest. Even though we were exhausted from the day, it wasn’t rare to see people still engaged in conversations well into the midnight hours.
Within a week of leaving Georgia, I had already had emails and conversations with many of my classmates and those conversations continue to this day. I’m already looking forward to when I go back next year and seeing how everyone has excelled in their positions with the knowledge gained in our first year and hungry for what year two brings.
When was the last time you really took time out of doing what you do to sit back and learn? They say that you never step in the same river twice, yet most of us head to work and attempt to swim the same way we always have expecting the same river only to surprisingly find it has changed. Progress and change are inevitable and things like STS Marketing College allow us to stop and re-evaluate our surroundings and learn how to approach them.
While you may not be able to register and attend STS Marketing College until next July, take some time out of your day today and learn something. Set up a new Google Reader Feed or subscribe to two new, interesting blogs and unsubscribe to ones you don’t read anymore. Find ways every day to learn a little so you can be excited to come back to that river knowing it will be different and confident you can handle it.
How do you learn something new each day?