Home for Uni? Eh, not quite…

The so-called Oreo design sits on the campus of Villanova University, Radnor Township, Pennsylvania.

In many ways, I had always fantasized about physically returning to my home state of Pennsylvania for an extended period of time (albeit in a colder stretch of winter than the UK would possibly dream of). More importantly, I’ve wanted to expand my grasp of project management, if the chance allowed.

Technically, I’ll only get to do the latter of those two in the coming weeks.

The so-called Oreo design sits on the campus of Villanova University, Radnor Township, Pennsylvania.
The so-called Oreo design sits on the campus of Villanova University, Radnor Township, Pennsylvania.

Taking my first course on project management through Villanova University, a private, Catholic school outside of Philadelphia I was mostly indifferent about in the athletic world I’m entirely too familiar with, my time with reading materials, case studies and interactive CD-ROMs seemed to be calling me to the City of Brotherly Love, one of two metropolitan flagships in my home state.

One slight problem – it was an online course, making this whole narrative pointless and the Atlantic flyover nothing but a trip to the laptop on my couch at home. Shucks, Mom, I’m speechless: see you this summer, maybe?

By no means do I want to sound ungrateful for the opportunity, provided jointly by Villanova and University Alliance, to brush up and solidify that grasp with the pine tar of knowledgeable foundations that is Principles of Project Management. While my background here at Arras stresses social media and communications, journalism has long been my passion. Prior to arriving on Anglo soil for good five years ago, I worked as the sports writer and then editor for local dailies, first in Pennsylvania and later in Oklahoma. And though upward mobility in media rounds have allowed me to persevere, sports have long been the focus of my journalistic prowess. It was, to say the least, juvenile – chasing kids who chased a ball, summarising their exploits in an industry that was outdated and struggling just to stay mobile and relevant as its workforce dwindled (that’s one bridge burned I suppose, but to be fair, the bridge had frayed rope and missing planks over a canyon).

Ergo, expanding to a specific realm like project management, naturally, seems somewhat daunting as a relative novice. But I’ve thrown myself into it, editing our newsletter and blogging here at the Camel regularly enough so that those of you who’ve read me before have an idea of when I venture between the serious and pot shot. So Principles of Project Management is, for me, a labor of a new-found appreciation for this profession and its trends, realities, and yes, principles.

Recalling my days at university, I’m reading course materials ahead of time, as the course officially begins Tuesday and a head start never hurts. (No, seriously, I am starting early. SLACKER!?!?!? You have no idea if I was a procrastinator back in the day or not, lay off!) Anyway, the central reference book should be familiar to some of you – PM BoK, the bible in many project management circles for guidance and best practice from PMI. Seeing as the course is offered by a university in the States, where PMI holds bigger best practice sway, I find myself comfortable in the subtleties of “Yanklish” content that my colleague and co-course reviewer Ed Wallington might groan about! However, I’m encouraged by the possibilities of the course, complete with online seminars, case studies and the copious notes I’ll take from them. While I want to brush up and get the concrete poured for my appreciation of PM, I want to figure out along the way if I can plug in my social skills when role-related scenarios come along. Socially aware, copious note taker, active listener (which seems good in some ways, bad in others for an online course), diligent and detailed will do me great favors down the road – time has arrived to apply it!

Image courtesy mcclave, re-printed with permission.

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