Today I am submitting my last major assignment for the ProGen Study Group.
Whew and Hallelujah!
As I complete a major goal like this one, it’s a perfect opportunity to stop and reflect on where I have been and where I am headed next.
Earlier this week, I needed to dig through my box of elementary and high school papers in the attic for an unrelated reason, and I came across an "All About Me" paper from 6th grade. I had not laid eyes on it for years, but I was amazed at how much my adult life resembles what I hoped it would be as an 11-year-old girl.
Granted, I did not take the most direct route as I majored in Elementary Education; however, I am certainly doing a lot of writing these days! And deep family history research involves a lot more psychology than one might imagine.
Are you serious, girl?
Kind, considerate man. Check. (And lots of other qualities, too. He's the best.)
Three children. Check.
Living in Lititz, now the "coolest small town in America." Check.
Okay, there was a fail on the napping concept as all three of my babies ranked as some of the world's worst sleepers (honestly, that's why there were no more than three). Now that they are in school, I'd say that the rest of these hopes and dreams are being fulfilled, thanks to the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Fast forward thirty years. What do this girl's goals look like in 2019 and 2020?
Looking back at 2019
2019 was a huge year of growth in so many ways. When I wrote this post one year ago, I anticipated that committing to a ProGen Study Group would be a worthwhile endeavor.
Now that I am nearly on the other side of the experience, I will share these takeaways for those considering the program.
The more effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it. This universal principle is oh so true. If you go the extra mile and give each assignment your very best, you will reap dividends. Your writing will improve. Your research skills will improve. Your confidence as a small business owner and operator will improve.
You just might break down some brick walls in your own family history research. As you analyze sources, correlate records, and realize you have holes in your research as you write, new discoveries are a real possibility. I used former brick wall ancestors for both my research report and case study assignments and finally resolved some long-standing mysteries.
If you have a job, kids, or other responsibilities, your time will be stretched thin. Some of the monthly assignments demand significantly more time than others. There were weeks when current client projects and ProGen assignments (not to mention a husband, three busy teenagers, church and volunteer commitments, etc. – insert your own life here) competed for the finite hours in my day. Organization, self-discipline, and a calendar system that works for you are critical.
Providing meaningful feedback to your peers can result in just as much learning as completing your own assignment. You will learn the rubrics for some of the components of the BCG portfolio inside out as you critique and commend your group members’ papers.
Each group will be unique based upon the composition of the individuals. Geographic and research specialties, skill levels, personalities, and career goals vary. You will learn from the different perspectives and experiences of each member of your group.
There will (probably) be parts you don’t love. In my case, I love the research and writing. Business contracts and marketing? Not so much. However, it’s important to learn how to address weaknesses and the aspects of professional genealogy that do not come as naturally.
Soak up the wisdom from your mentor and coordinator. They are volunteering their time and expertise to help you grow. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make the most of the opportunity.
What will 2020 hold?
My current education plan includes:
CDG (Certification Discussion Group)
NGSQ/MGP Study Group (National Genealogical Society Quarterly and Mastering Genealogical Proof – that’s a mouthful and why we use acronyms!)
Self-study of BCG (Board for Certification of Genealogists) resources
Supplementation of those three main items with webinars, podcasts, and reading to fill in the gaps whenever and wherever I can
And one more thing... stay tuned for an exciting announcement in my next post!