Does your school, job or local community offer free training or professional development workshops? If they do, how often do you take advantage of these free resources? Often times we are hesitant to attend these trainings and workshops because they disrupt the typical flow of our day, consume time which is often limited, and do not compensate us financially. However, despite these factors, attending trainings and workshops have many personal and professional benefits and can ultimately be seen as “FREE GAME.”
Free Game- open for anyone to take or use; unclaimed; up for grabs
At the University of Central Florida, graduate students are required to participate in the Pathways to Success program by attending a specific number of core and elective workshops before graduating. I must admit, initially I was not too keen about attending and only did so because I was required to. It wasn’t until my first session that I realized the significance of such workshops and found that the information provided in these workshops answered so many questions that I had and provided instruction to more efficient ways for me to navigate as a student and as a professional. Some of the most significant sessions for me provided instruction on formatting my dissertation, data management, citing sources easier using Endnote and Refworks, creating poster presentations, networking, and on the academic job search.
Of course the topics and content provided at such trainings and workshops will very depending on your industry, yet the return on your investment is very similar. By investing your time and attending these resourceful sessions not only do they present you with valuable information (FREE GAME) that may propel you to the next level, but they also introduce you to individuals who are experts in that particular area who may serve as a point of contact for further direction. Not only does attending these sessions help develop new skills and refine old ones, but they also present an opportunity to engage in discussions that may present a new perspective and jump start motivation for a new initiative. While there are many more benefits these are just a few to hopefully change your perspective on attending trainings and workshops, and seeing such sessions as a way to keep education yourself and a way to receive FREE GAME.
- Identify free training and professional development workshops that are occurring in your field…keep a running list
- Attend at least one or two per month…learning does not only occur in the classroom. At this stage you should be a self-motivated learner, who seeks knowledge without instruction.
- After attending the session, find a way to utilize the content in your everyday or professional life.
A personal philosophy of mine is that a day without learning is a day wasted. Considering that change is inevitable, it is imperative for us to keep educating ourselves so that we may adjust with the changes that are occurring. Keep in mind that although financial compensation is not typically involved in attending trainings and professional development workshops, the skills and knowledge provided may be used to further compensate you in the future.
Motivational Scripture 🙏🏽
Proverbs 4:6-7: “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”