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Joahna Kuiper

Degree:

Diploma in Strategy and Innovation

Location:

United States

Industry:

Technology, Media, and Telecommunications

Year:

2017

By Joahna Kuiper

The Lull Between Modules

Lull… If it is, it really shouldn’t be. But, we work a lot don’t we, the type of student who attends a part-time graduate program? And if you are worried for yourself that work and life will get in the way of studying – I can nearly promise you it most certainly will. Being overwhelmed a bit by what should be done at home, at work, and in preparation for next “at school”, I tend to shut down and accomplish less on all fronts. This is not a productive defense mechanism on my part.

So, what to do to make sure studies don’t fall by the wayside completely? I have a couple approaches:

  • While I love the camaraderie of my class cohort and the sharing of notes and questions and study guides, when I am overwhelmed and my head is a bit out of the game as far as lessons go, I dive into my own content and the raw content instead. I can only process the addition of “other people’s brains” on the subject matter when I have established (or re-established) the content in my own brain first. To make sure I can do so without starting from scratch (see prior posts where I discuss the lack of organization and memory power of said brain), I make sure I have dealt with the material in multiple ways… Then I can dive into the brilliance of my cohort with an educated and thoughtful eye – and am I ever so grateful of the “discussions” I can then have with myself about their interpretations and assessments. Almost as good as the virtual meet ups (that I try to accept at least a few of);
  • All of the Notes! Before and during the actual module, I must take notes in a variety of ways to make sure that I give all parts of my learning-style the ability to soak some learning in. I read the articles and case studies electronically and highlight the pdfs; I summarize themes and summaries from said readings in hand writing in a notebook that I color code; I type notes during lecture and study groups; I write notes during lecture and study groups; I ask questions and comment during lectures and discussions to validate thoughts and hear them out loud; I draw models in my notebook and color code and label and cross-reference them; and, I highlight printed books or handouts. To be honest, this is not only important for the information to make it down one of the many narrow pathways to my memory, but also so that I have access to at least some of my content no matter where I am regardless of the electronics I have with me, or whether I have wifi or not. And, to be fair, I attempt all of that… I have yet to do it completely for every article and case study – even with the best intentions.

The saving grace of it all, is that the content presented over the course of the program is engaging and something I either already do or can start to apply in my regular day to day work. For instance, Module 2 focused on innovation and formation of markets. Many of the clients I work with are either in a new market themselves or need to find ways to include themselves in new markets to take advantage of opportunities (or worse, avoid obsolescence). While there are tools and established practices we already use with our clients, the frameworks and ideas I am getting from the Diploma in Strategy & Innovation programme at Oxford Saïd both add to that toolbox and sharpen the tools already existing within. While I’m highly likely to forget the name of the scholar who published a framework or the date they last revised it, I at least keep the principles fresh with regular professional conversations. Even better, it makes studying and work ALMOST the same thing!

As I think about the rest of the programme, I do continue this worry of time management though. Specifically, IF I find it difficult to keep on top of things NOW when it is only reading, studying, and practice writing that needs to be done between modules, I worry what the “lull” between the next modules will be like, when we ALSO have a paper assigned to write. New habits will definitely have to form. Wish me luck!

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