Back to School

Back to school, back to school, to prove to dad that I’m not a fool…

Despite watching Billy Madison multiple times throughout my life I will always end up crying from laughing at certain scenes.  From the drunk penguin to peeing his pants, that movie is hilarious.  My favorite scene is when he is in the bathtub making the shampoo and conditioner argue and ends with “Stop looking at me swan!”

Like Billy I am officially “back to school” starting this Tuesday.  I had contacted NASM about their personal training certification prior to the start of track season.  I asked some questions and told the gentleman I would follow up once the season ended.  Waiting turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  When I contacted the gentleman again about registering for their personal trainer course and adding on the group trainer certification, it was actually during their biggest sale of the year which meant I could add on the group trainer certification for free!  I originally thought my entire coaching paycheck would be going to paying for the courses, but because of this discount I was able to only use part of it and use the other part to help payoff our scheduled trip to New Orleans this fall.

I chose their guided study package which provided a physical textbook in addition to the online version (I much prefer physical books to online ones) as well as access to a mentor and online discussion groups among other features.  I felt having access to someone to ask questions throughout the course would be very beneficial and worth the additional cost.  That package also includes one free retest in the event I wouldn’t pass the certification exam the first time.

I’ve already read through all the initial information and began the first module.  I want to try to get ahead as it appears two chapters are part of each module, and one module a week is covered for 10 weeks.  Week 5 contains an exam and week 10 has a practice certification exam.

I have taken a few Coursera classes for fun over the years, but this will be first legit studying and learning I have done since graduating college in 2009.  I have always been a good student (graduated as salutatorian of my high school class) and a great test taker, but I really want to focus on understanding the concepts rather than just memorizing definitions.  That will be a bit of a challenge as I’m naturally inclined to memorize things as my style of learning.  It is why I struggled with classes like physics where I could complete problems by memorizing formulas, but did awful at word problems that required fully understanding the concept.  I’m hoping I can train my brain to learn this a bit differently than how I’ve learned things in the past.

I’m excited to be studying something that I am passionate about in anticipation of where it may guide me in the future.  I have no intentions of leaving my current job anytime soon (working from home is hard to pass up, plus I like what I do), but I want to expand my options even if it is just some part time work on the side for fun and extra money.  I think it will also benefit me as an athlete and a coach.  Here’s to a new educational adventure!

Have you ever taken online courses for fun or for career change/advancement?  Do you have any tips for learning concepts vs just memorizing information?


About Tracy

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental and Indigenous Peoples advocate. Work from home Workforce Specialist. NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Assistant Varsity Track Coach. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights.
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13 Responses to Back to School

  1. Every so often we have to take classes for our continuing education in nursing. Sometimes in order to truly grasp a concept (like pharmacokinetics, which can get complicated), I’ll find online videos that help explain things in different ways. I feel like this gives me a more thorough understanding, and the visuals helps the information “stick.” Good luck on your personal training courses and congratulations for taking a big step toward a worthy goal!

    • TracyNicole says:

      That is a good idea! At this point I’ve just read the chapters, I’m going to dive into the online material this week for the first module which I know includes some videos so hopefully hearing the material in multiple formats will lead to deeper learning and not just surface memorizing. Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. runeatralph says:

    You got me hooked with the Billy Madison opener. I took several courses online and I think it works well for some courses, but for others there is something missing when you aren’t in a classroom. Of course, colleges are finding better and better ways to improve upon the online experience.

    • TracyNicole says:

      Hope the opener made you laugh and you want to watch the movie soon! I do actually prefer in class learning as I feel I focus better, but at least having a physical textbook helps rather than having all the material to follow online. I felt that the material from my Cousera classes didn’t “stick” quite as well because I was learning online with no other material. I may look into shadowing with a personal trainer to get some “hands on” experience as well. At least this is a subject I have some familiarity with as opposed to learning something brand spanking new, that might help me tolerate it being all online.

  3. Laurie says:

    When I taught, I accumulated a master’s degree plus 60 additional credits. I always enjoyed in=person discussions much more than online ones. They seemed more organic and authentic, but the online courses were just so convenient. Good luck getting your trainer’s certification! So cool that you will still have enough left over from your coach’s salary to help pay for an upcoming trip. Maybe you can offer online coaching services?!?!

    • TracyNicole says:

      My cousin is a high school science teacher for a cyber school and is working on her master’s! I guess that’s a requirement now for all teachers to have one eventually? I agree with getting more out of in person interaction than online. There is a discussion question for each module that we have to answer as individuals for credit but we’re encouraged to engage with each other as well based on what is written. I’m going to work on my answer today and try to avoid looking at other people’s answers because they’re graded and I want to ensure I’m understanding the material and not just rewording other people’s answers. I have no idea what all I have planned once I’m certified but I feel it’ll open up a lot of opportunities for me!

      I was in your next of the woods last Saturday. We visited Lititz Springs Park then had lunch at Applachian Brewing Co. for the first time. I’m not a big soda drinker but had to order their homemade white birch beer and was so glad I did! We had to visit Zest of course and Cafe Chocolate and I picked up peanut brittle for my dad’s Father’s Day gift at Wilbur before we left. I seriously love your little town!

      • Laurie says:

        You don’t have to have your Master’s but you must get 24 credits after your BS, so you might as well get the extra 6 credits and get your Master’s degree. You get a pay raise when you have your Master’s.

        I used to do the same thing you describe – try to write my answer without first looking at the answers of others. I didn’t want to be influenced.

        Your day in Lititz sounds like fun! ABC has good ginger ale too. I have some of it in my fridge right now. I won it at a raffle! Unfortunately, soda is not in my sugar-free diet at the moment. I love how Zest smells. I could wander around that store for hours just soaking up that wonderful smell! 🙂

      • TracyNicole says:

        Ah ok, that makes sense if you’re that close to earning a Master’s why not just finish it? I originally aimed to get a Master’s degree in Sports Management but when I didn’t end up working in my chosen field it seemed pointless. I’m glad to be pursuing something new, albeit not a Master’s degree, but I’m enjoying learning and knowing I’ll be applying that knowledge to something.

        We were hoping the squirrels were out at Lititz Springs Park, but they must not have liked all the visitors (we saw so many our last visit). Fortunately the ducks are never bothered by our company! Soda definitely isn’t the best in anyone’s diet, and I agree Zest is just so fun to wander!

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