Master of My Domain

August 24, 2020
By Kristan L. Anderson, CEBS, CFP®

For any Seinfeld fans out there, the title may give you a chuckle. Not to disappoint you, but this article isn’t about THAT. At 53, I just completed a Masters program in library and information sciences, with a concentration in archives. The program was online through Drexel University (Go Dragons!) and it took me about four years to complete. I was taking one to two courses each quarter, trying to not get too overwhelmed with working full time, having a family and giving sufficient time and energy to my studies. But the main question is why did I do it at all? 

The answer is a complex one, in that I often thought about going back to school over the years, but was never systematic about applying and following through. This time was different because I have been working and doing essentially the same thing for more than 20 years. I want to be a lifelong learner and, in that moment, I needed to refocus and learn something new. Turns out, most of what I learned at work was relevant to different areas of my studies, from data curation to organizing and cataloging data. But targeted learning in these areas gave me a new perspective on aspects of my job that I had been approaching in a more random fashion.

A 2017 article in the Harvard Business Journal details some of the benefits of lifelong learning. Sure, there is the potential for greater earnings, especially if the field of study is in demand, or otherwise expands your expertise or credentials in your current job. Learning new skills, such as playing the guitar, can help reduce stress levels and may help offset cognitive decline. Beyond what the studies support, I can tell you that learning something new allows me to better see connections, offer a different perspective to problems, and be able to relate to a greater variety of people. In my workout community alone I’ve met someone who authored a piece that was assigned reading for a class, and an archivist working for a major university. I’ve also had interesting conversations with clients about topics such as genealogy and data analysis, that I might not have attempted before having more formal education in these areas. 

Now that I’ve completed this program, I am looking to continue learning, but in a more informal manner. I have the tools and the knowledge to keep learning for the rest of my life. And that alone is worth the cost of tuition.

Meet Kristan L. Anderson, CEBS, CFP® »

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