Once in a Lifetime
– by Samantha Dodd
Here it is, five months after my experiences at SHA, and I still have the excitement and energy I felt in Indy. Before I arrived in Indianapolis last fall, and quite frankly during some of the first days of the program, I thought that I would have nothing valuable to contribute to the conversations, that I was not ready for such an inundation of information, and honestly that I would not be able to use anything I learned at SHA back home. My doubts and nerves about my own abilities and knowledge were quickly alleviated once I met the outstanding group of individuals with whom I spent an amazing three weeks getting to know and work alongside. The energy this group brought generated great conversations and ideas. We asked the tough questions and delved into the challenges we all face in this field.
About two months after I returned from SHA, the executive director of my organization moved on to another institution and suddenly we were down to three full time staff. Had I not just attended SHA, this situation would have given me a stroke, but instead I rolled up my sleeves and started to unpack all of my notes and ideas I had from Indy and put things into motion. Even though our staff is even smaller now, we are keeping things going, trying new programs, and advocating for our organization and its relevance in our community.
The class of 2014 was an amazing group of people ranging in ages, experience levels, job titles, from all over the country, one even from Canada 🙂 Pretty much every blog post I read before going to SHA all said the same thing, that the number one take away from the program was the network and connections with fellow classmates. After going through the program myself, I can honestly attest to that fact. I still chat with my classmates and we are still posing questions to one another. I know if I start having trouble or if I need some inspiration that I can call up one of my classmates, even one of the speakers and presenters, and talk things out.
To my fellow classmates and to all the speakers, guests, and staff of the Indianapolis Historical Society, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this one in a lifetime experience.
Samantha Dodd, CA
Dallas Historical Society