Friday, October 12, 2012

Our $1,000 'Advice to Your Former Self Contest' winner is ...

It's a wrap for our first-ever contest on our Facebook page! Through our "Advice to Your Former Self Contest," we asked any and all adult learners to submit their best advice about going back to school. We thought the challenge was a great way to generate some fun and friendly competition on our page, while building a resource for current or prospective adult learners at the same time.

The submission period ended last Tuesday night, and a panel of judges has reviewed the 356 entries to crown one the best, and grant the winner the $1,000 prize.

We're thrilled by the number of people who shared their stories with us, and must admit picking a winner has been a tough decision! Our contest brought in a lot of insightful and inspirational advice that any adult learner should read. There are stories of perseverance and determination. There are personal anecdotes of overcoming challenges and finding opportunities. Most of all, there are tales of motivation and guidance for taking the next step in your educational journey.

WINNER: Victor Belarmino takes home
the grand prize in our Facebook contest
After much deliberation, our judges paired down the entries and selected the one they thought met all of our judging criteria the best. We were looking for entries that would first and foremost serve as inspiration and guidance for the growing population of adult learners looking to enhance their skills, advance their careers, and feed their passions through higher education. We also had our eye on how creative, thoughtful, well-written, and full of wisdom the entries were.

With that in mind, we picked Victor Belarmino as the grand prize winner. Victor's advice rose to the top as the most insightful and thoughtful guidance of all the entries. Congratulations, Victor!

Here was Victor's winning advice:
One mile at a time ... 
Let me start off by saying, I love to run. Little did I know though that my lessons learned in running, would apply to my tenure as a grad student, and ultimately to life as well. Thinking back after just completing my MBA at Post, 3 key lessons come to mind. As with many experiences in life, I see things as a runner. Thus the lessons are my miles in life. Mile 1 - you have to pace yourself. The race is not won in the first mile, and neither can I complete everything all at once. Between work deadlines, school responsibilities, and family obligations - you have to set a realistic pace. You do not need to cancel things out, you just have to balance and set your pace early every week. Mile 2 - be open to the journey. There are times when I have decided to veer off my normal running course, maybe stretch it out a little further, and even go on unplanned routes (especially in new cities). By doing so, I saw some amazing sights and even realized a higher level of endurance. Just the same, my Post University MBA experience demanded the same of me. Being open to what the courses provided, and most importantly what my professors and colleagues brought to the table introduced me to new insights on the world and new insights to myself. Letting go of the preconceived notions that years of work and life experience brings can turn a learning experience into a phenomenal opportunity. "Mile 3" is not so much a new lesson, but one that I have to be reminded from time to time. And that is to appreciate the value and importance of the journey. It does not matter how far I run, or how fast I run each mile. What matters is that I simply get out there and run. By virtue of doing so, the potential for something amazing happening greatly increases. And so it goes with my MBA experience. It did not matter that it took 10 years for me to finally decide to go back to school, nor did it matter that I was not able to finish the program in the time frame that I had initially planned. What matters is that I did it, and it this phase of my life is all a part of my journey. I am humbled and grateful to be part of the Post University MBA Class of 2012. Thanks for running with me!
When we told Victor he won, he had this to say in reaction:
I am extremely honored to have been selected as the winner of Post University's Facebook contest. It is quite appropriate that the contest revolved around advice to our former selves. Winning this contest just so happens to highlight another piece of wisdom - pursue your passions. Pursuing my passion to obtain my graduate degree, and my passion to write led me to this point. What a humbling culmination of efforts! Thank you Post University for the amazing experience that inspired the advice to my former self.
We love being able to put a smile on an adult learner's face. :)

Thank you to everyone else who entered the contest! We sincerely appreciate your participation and wisdom, and hope you had fun.

Even if you didn't win the grand prize, you still have a chance to have your advice published in our forthcoming e-book. Our e-book will compile a host of the top entries and will be free to the public for reading and sharing. Stay tuned to our blog for updates on when the e-book will be available!

Finally, we would love to hear your ideas for future contests. Your concept could be the next contest we bring to life!