One of my very favorite photos on my website is this one; "Reflections". It is also a client favorite which for me is quite gratifying.
I snapped this photo one morning on Brier Island. I was away for a lovely Nova Scotia "staycation" and got up before my partner to take a quiet walk and reflect. How appropriate right?
As you will now know if you have read my bio or welcome page on my website, I love Nova Scotia. I love everything about it from its coastlines and valleys to its rich heritage and culture. An important part of Nova Scotia for me, and for many, is Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).
I currently work for NSCC but the summer when I snapped my "Reflections" photo was the summer after I graduated from the College. NSCC is Canada's Portfolio College and I would like to share with you what the term Portfolio means to me. It is a term that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted and my understanding of the term has changed quite a lot since it was first introduced to me.
When I was a student at NSCC Portfolio initially meant a collection of my learning and work samples that would help me better market myself in the workplace. With the help of some fantastic faculty members, Jolene Pattison in particular, I learned that what it really meant was knowing who I was as a person, knowing what my skills are, what makes me unique, and setting goals based on this knowledge. I also learned that it meant gaining confidence and seeing learning opportunities outside of the norm.
Since I have been an employee of the College I now think in terms of Portfolio Learning, which I have come to believe is the best kind of learning. In my own words, Portfolio Learning is about truly seeing learning in everything - from attending a rock concert to attending a university course and everything in between. It means personalizing my learning and discovering how I learn and what works for me; taking the time to reflect and process what I am learning. For me this comes in the form of reflecting on what my new learning really means for me, and in many situations, what it means for those around me. One element of Portfolio Learning is demonstrating learning, and that can be as unique as the learner. For me, my demonstrations of learning are varied from course work samples that demonstrate my skills, progress and significant learning to my photographs and writing. For some, a demonstration of learning or demonstration of self can be anything from what I have mentioned above to a patchwork quilt. Ultimately, Portfolio Learning has been for me, about knowing myself as a unique learner and person. It means knowing who I am at the core, good and bad - with a focus on the good!
I thought this particular blog post would be appropriate for January - the month of resolutions. I think that resolutions and reflections should go hand in hand. I mean, how can I resolve to change anything if I don't take the time to reflect on what needs to be changed, why it needs to be changed, and what steps will be the most effective in the change. Who am I, Where am I going, and How am I going to get there?
I have been having a pretty fantastic few months if I am being honest. I am eating well, staying active, doing things I love to do as often as I can. I am making an effort to be considerate of the environment and of the chemicals that I allow in my body and I am feeling great. (Side note: one of my favorite Christmas gifts is the book Ecoholic Body by Andria Vasil; check it out if you get a chance.)
I have many, many things to resolve (don't we all?) but I am thankful for Portfolio Learning for two reasons: 1) I feel like I have the tools to get a good start on my resolutions and 2) I know that it is okay to take the time to reflect and make a plan. For me, this means that the changes I make are going to be significant - starting on January 1st, April 1st, or even December 1st.