Several years ago, when my son was in kindergarten, he came home with an art project that was a thankful turkey. In each feather, he listed what he was thankful for and of course, being a six-year child, he wrote in comments such as ‘I’m thankful for my family, dog, monster trucks, and videos.’ I have kept that thankful turkey up on the refrigerator because it serves as a wonderful reminder to our entire family to think about what we are grateful for well beyond the thanksgiving season. Research has shown that people who write about or express gratitude are more optimistic and felt better about their lives.
As part of our Thankful for Continuing Education blog series, we asked a handful of UVM students how their education has impacted their lives and what they are thankful for as a result of that continued learning. Here are their responses:
Saloni Mehta, Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program Graduate
“I am thankful for UVM’s Post-Bacc Premedical program for preparing me so well for dental school. I feel like I really have the foundations set in place to succeed in school thanks to the teachers at UVM who taught the PBPM courses. I do not think I would have received such a strong foundation at any other PBPM program.”
Emily Wood, School Library Media Specialist Program Graduate
“I have the best job in the whole world. I receive dozens of cheerful waves, huge toothy (although sometimes not so toothy) smiles, enthusiastic high fives, and heartwarming hugs every day I go to work as a School Librarian at Richmond Elementary School. I get to share stories with students to help them find a love of reading and teach them inquiry skills that help them be lifelong learners. My job is highly rewarding and it is all because I went to UVM’s continuing education School Library Media Specialist Program. So in the spirit of the season, I want to say “Thank you!” to the wonderful crew at UVM that helped me on my journey to the best job in the world. I’m thankful for Judy Kaplan for being an invaluable resource and leader of the school library media specialist sequence. I’m thankful for the professors who shared their expertise on best practices. I’m thankful for my mentors that coached me to get better and more confident in my knowledge and skill. I’m thankful for my fellow students who helped create a learning community with whom I still depend on to learn new things. And I’m thankful that UVM’s program was designed to help anyone achieve their learning goals. I’m thankful I chose the continuing ed’s learning pathway. And that has made all the difference.”
Kathleen Merrick, Healthcare Management and Leadership Program Graduate
“I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect on how important it is to keep learning at any age. This is my third professional phase in life and I am excited about going back to school to learn more! I have had a corporate marketing phase, being a small business owner for another phase and now putting it all together in third phase of working at UVMMC. This is such an exciting time to keep learning. I am still planning my next step for a Master’s program and I have loved networking with people in the Healthcare Leadership Certificate program to toss ideas around. I am still in connection with most of the presenters and now follow them on Linkedin to keep networking skills strong.”
Ida Sargent, Master of Public Health student & former member of U.S. Cross Country Ski Team
“I am grateful to be able to continue my education and learn about something new all while traveling the world or from the comfort of my home. As a professional cross country ski racer, I split my time between training at home in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and traveling the world and the online Master of Public Health program at UVM allowed me to take my classes with me to each new location. I was taking classes while competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang South Korea. Due to the time change most of our competitions were in the evening so I would do homework in the morning to distract myself from my nerves of the upcoming races. Without the online option, I would not have been able to pursue my academic goals while also chasing athletic goals so I am thankful for that opportunity with the UVM graduate program.”
Students and adult learners come to UVM’s Continuing and Distance Education for a variety of reasons. Some cite career advancement, skill building, networking opportunities, or to simply feed their hunger for learning. Undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional certificates, seminars and workshops have been offered by CDE for over 100 years. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, gratitude not only makes people feel good in the present, but it also increases the likelihood that people will function optimally and feel good in the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to provide flexible, relevant educational options at all stages of life.