In the past month, I found myself stretching my brain power in ways I’ve never imagined. I’m trying something new.
Let me rewind just a bit, I’ve always had an intense hate for math. In college, the counselor said I needed to take math as a pre-requisite and I loathed. I used every chance to move away from it. There was a deep feeling of powerlessness when math and I were in the same room. This feeling started since elementary school, I was never any good at it. At least, this was my preconceived notion.
Fast forward back to the past month, I’ve been praying for a new direction in life. I asked God to move me in His direction, to do His will. How can I do that with my life? I thought about going back to school, maybe a new course or certification will bring me new strengths or skills I need for my new journey.
Will I Stretch My Brain Power with a Course?
In a Facebook group, called Tech Ladies®, they mentioned Udacity. Udacity is a website offering various types of tech courses: machine learning, AI, self-driving car engineering, digital marketing, programming, etc. So many amazing different technology-based courses! Many of the courses are part of nanodegree programs, which means in Udacity’s words:
“A nanodegree program is an innovative curriculum path that is outcome-based and career-oriented. Every program has a clear end-goal, and the ideal path to get you there. Courses are built with industry leaders like Google, AT&T, and Facebook, and are taught by leading subject matter experts. Students benefit from personalized mentoring and project-review throughout, and have regular access to instructors and course managers through moderated forums.”
Graduates earn an industry-recognized credential and benefit from extensive career support. The ultimate goal of a Nanodegree program is to teach the skills you need, for the career you want, so you can build the life you deserve. Sounds awesome, right?
I joined the notifications for scholarships to see what they had to offer as some members of Tech Ladies said they received one and loved it. I was thinking I’d enroll if anything digital marketing came up, you know, something easy that I’m familiar with.
After a while, I received notification that they were offering a Data Science scholarship. I checked it out and found that the prerequisites involved math. NOPE. Not doing it.
Although the Business Analyst nanodegree program seems interesting with ways to visualize data and learn methods to extract data. It intrigues me but… there’s math. Oh yeah, I’m definitely not applying. What for?! It lingered on my mind a bit and so I prayed on it. The next day I started to apply but then there were math related questions so I stopped. Then I received Udacity’s automated email letting me know I didn’t finish my application.
Yeah…yeah…yeah, I’m not doing it!
Will I Let Fear Take Over or Stomp it Down?
Then I remembered all those times my kids told me that they weren’t any good at math and I would tell them to not lose confidence to keep trying.
I told myself I need to keep trying. I want to learn something new and I love looking at surveys and data. Anyway, what are the chances of me getting a scholarship? Right?! If God sees this being part of my life then I’ll get accepted. If I don’t get accepted then it’s not a big deal, it’s not God’s will for me.
I pushed through the application and thought about the notification date to recipients…occasionally. I didn’t want to overthink it. I wasn’t going to let fear take over me.
An Email Starts a New Journey with Udacity
Receiving an email from Udacity with the subject line below was shocking, to say the least.
Lillian, congratulations! You have been accepted into the Bertelsmann Data Science Scholarship program
All I could say was, “Lord, are you sure I can handle this?” Well, He knows what’s best! The email detailed that it was a challenge course. Yep! Definitely going to be a challenge I think.
I was thrilled, excited, shocked, and scared! A very emotional state of being for 7 whole days awaiting the details of how and where to start. They also provided this badge to share on social media, which I honestly did not share until recently because again fear set in – what if I don’t pass the course? I stomped that fear down and thankfully found so many other people in the course to be in my same situation. Moms at home with no data science background whatsoever, introverts, and people completely unsure if we’re in the right classroom. LOL
The course starts off with the rules and guidelines, which was very easy to follow. They open up a Slack messaging space for all participants to chat, create channels, and have AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions with course moderators. This area is completely overwhelming!
Did I mention that there were 15,000 scholarship recipients? I’m very honored to be a part of this group. But imagine 15,000 people on Slack chatting and since it’s all new to them they are all asking the same questions. The moderators sure do have their work cut out for them. So. Many. People. With. Lots. Of. Questions. YIKES! The moderators are cool, calm, and collected with extreme patience and have ensured that the Slack area will soon slow down once everyone is in their studies.
It’s been almost a month and it has slowed down. Thank goodness!
There is a forum within the Udacity course area to chat and ask questions as needed. It’s a much quieter space in the forum, where I found other introverts. Yay!
There is also a Facebook group where I found many of the stay-at-home moms and other people who are not currently in the data science field. This was encouraging also as there are many people who are supportive.
Are You Ready to Stomp Fear and Try Something New?
I know this was a huge step for me to take but I’m not letting fear take over. So I give you this challenge – Try something new! Something that you are afraid of, take the plunge and do it. It could be for your personal or business life.
Let me know in the comments if you’re trying something new.
If you do plan to challenge yourself, say a prayer to let God lead and guide you.