SHA: A Necessary Catalyst that Helped Refine & Affirm My Place in the Field & Commitment to It

It’s Saturday. The application deadline for the Seminar for Historical Administration is knocking on the door. Are you ready? There are only 3 days left (including today) to apply.

For those of you still on the fence, I think today’s “Why Should You Attend SHA?” post by my SHA roomie, Lillian Diep, Creative Content Manager at the Homestead Museum in Industry, California, will seal the deal.

How can I possibly follow the insights of my very articulate and thoughtful SHA classmates? By looking at the other side of the coin, of course. Here is a snapshot of what was racing through my head as I prepared my application, sealed up the manila envelope, and stood hemming and hawing at the post office, this very time last year.

Reasons not to attend SHA, debunked

Myth: It’s too long.

Reality: Contrary to what you or others might think, your institution will not fall apart without you there. The world will not stop turning or fall out of equilibrium. Fight the temptation check work e-mail. It will be OK. Three weeks may sound like a long time, but it really flies by! Yes, SHA is three weeks of intense immersion in thoughtful, provocative conversation with current and future leaders in the field, but it doesn’t stop there. Between class time, lively meals, field trips to many of Indianapolis’s finest institutions, impromptu weekend road trips to Ohio, and late-night snacks/discussion/antics in the Fountain Room, every day was enriching and valuable. One of the unexpected outcomes of my time at SHA was the instant camaraderie formed between us. Skype chats, even now at six months out, are not uncommon, and I know without a doubt that I have a network of people with whom I can share the joys, challenges, and responsibilities each of us have in and to the field.

Myth: It’s too expensive.

Reality: With tightened budgets, staff cuts, and so many other factors, SHA tuition can certainly be a challenge—this is all very, very real. However, the seminar is well worth the investment, both personally and professionally. (Please read previous posts in this series and you’ll get the gist.) Scholarships opportunities are available. It can be done.

Myth: Indianapolis? For three weeks? Really?

Reality: What a cool city! When we weren’t in the depths of the Indiana History Center, we were definitely out and about town exploring nearby museums, the culinary scene, sports teams, and whatever else we could soak in. I experienced my first NFL game while in Indy—as “Luck” would have it, this year’s SHA-ers might get to see the Colts in action, possibly even on the winning side of things. There is no shortage of restaurants and neat bars and cafes to check out.

Myth: I’m in over my head. I am not a leader.

Reality: Of the many valuable classroom take-aways from three weeks at SHA (including a huge binder full of resources), two recurring thoughts pop into my head on a regular basis: 1) be bold, and 2) lead from where you are. While a snazzy job title is nice, it is not a prerequisite for being a leader. We are all capable of being bold in our perspectives and bringing new, challenging ideas to the table. For me, SHA was a necessary catalyst that helped refine and affirm my place in the field and commitment to it.

SHA is not the only professional development opportunity out there, but I will be bold enough to say that it is by far the best that I have experienced. Apply! Apply! Apply!

Great food for thought! Thanks, Lillian!

Now that all of your hesitations have been proven to be myths I encourage you to get crackin’ on that application!

Applications for SHA are due by EOD, Monday, May 21. For more information about SHA, or to apply, click here.

“Why Should You Attend SHA?”

#11: Attending professional conferences is no substitute for the SHA experience (Bob Hart)

#10: SHA is the optimal learning environment (Kyle McKoy)

#9: SHA: Unbeatable professional training & powerful personal relationships (Mark Sundlov)

#8: SHA: A Fertile Environment for Real Learning, Powerful Networking & Organizational Change (Jason Crabill)

#7: SHA is a Career-Changing Experience (Becca Loofbourrow)

#6: SHA reminded me how lucky I am to do what I do (Jamie Glavic)

#5: From a Culture of SHA, I am in Hook, Line & Sinker (Sarah Milligan)

#4: SHA is an Awesome “Camp” for Adults in Our Field (Cynthia Capers)

#3: SHA: A Necessary Catalyst that Helped Refine & Affirm My Place in the Field & Commitment to It (Lillian Diep)

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