I have always really loved learning. My mom was an elementary school teacher and I grew up surrounded by ceiling-high shelves of books. I truly enjoyed college and graduate school, and the idea of going back for more is always in the back of my mind (raising two children and working full-time pushes that a little further back nowadays!)

I was excited about a recent opportunity to learn something new and become certified as a Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Technical Assistance provider for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). That was until I realized how much studying I would need to do, how many recorded videos I needed to watch, and reference materials I needed to read!  I looked at my calendar and to-do lists and thought that it was an insurmountable task. The excitement about learning drained out of me and I was just stressed about the time. Finally, after much procrastination, I started getting into the material and realized that I was gaining new and valuable knowledge.  Feeling a little apprehensive, but also confident, I took the test for certification. Test anxiety is no joke! However, it was easier than I expected because I knew the information better than I thought. I now feel proud and competent with this new area of expertise.

This experience also gave me an increased sense of empathy for the adults taking the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) Online Course.  It is 20 hours of self-directed learning with a pretty hefty learning check at the end in the form of a full practice case. It takes quite a commitment to make it through the course.  I hope that every SOAR Online Course completer feels the same sense of accomplishment and pride that I did finishing up my recent course of study.

Here’s to lifelong learning squeezed into our very busy lives!