The Most Important Thing

By Joan

What is the most important thing you have learned in this course (WFED 572)? How do you feel about it?

It has been 30 years since I’ve taken a course that was graded. Probably the most important thing I learned in this course was that I was capable of doing the work of a graduate level class. It wasn’t a question for me of whether I was smart enough for the work (maybe a little), but rather if I could do it and balance it with being a small business owner, a mom, a daughter, a gardener, etc. And would I remain interested enough to finish it?

The first quarter of 2019 has been among the most challenging of my life. We checked all of the boxes on those stress assessment tests — death of family member, divorce, new marriage, moving, daughter moving across the country, financial turmoil, job loss, new family member, etc. This was a real test of our coping skills. We stopped asking “what else can happen?” because then something else happened. But through it all I kept up with the work of this class — the reading, the assignments, the god-awful quizzes — and I’m really proud of myself for that. I learned I have the fortitude to do grad school. I really wasn’t sure before this class.

I also learned a remarkable array of theories, models, and applications for organization development. Time will tell as to what will be the most important among them. But already I’ve applied some to my work. For instance, I was working with a really difficult group of people and so started to use Appreciative Inquiry strategies with them and it completely changed the dynamic of the group.

I’ve enjoyed this class immensely. Thanks to the instructors and students for making it a great experience.

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