You are currently viewing Ivy League to Community College: Back to School with Shannon

Ivy League to Community College: Back to School with Shannon

Hello and happy fall semester!

 After graduating from Wharton in 2010, I never thought that I would go back to school. Honestly, I figured that anything I needed to know I could just ‘google’ and ‘youtube.’  But less than 18 months after graduation, I was already back in class. It wasn’t a formal “college” where you work toward a degree; they were Arabic classes at Eton Institute in Dubai. I was buying books (Al Kitaab method —, taking notes, and doing homework all over again–while working full-time at a pan-Arab media company. It was the best decision I ever made, and it has made all the difference in my career. During the fall of 2013, I flew to Stanford to visit a friend who was getting her Ph.D. While she was in the lab, I visited a couple of the upper-level Arabic classes. I was surprised to find that after 15 months of study–and I cringe as I type this because I hate bragging, so please don’t see it that way–I was far ahead of all the other students in both pronunciation, vocabulary, and reading speed and accuracy. These students had been studying since freshman year. It was a huge ego boost…and the first time I really “compared” myself to other non-native speakers, because I had been doing private lessons since Al-Kitaab 2. Sure, people always say “don’t compare yourself to others” and “just be better than the you of yesterday” – but let’s be honest, we are literally compared all the time to others, especially when applying for jobs. You have to be competitive sometimes. And as someone with 14 siblings who grew up in a competitive environment, I’d be lying if I told you that it doesn’t feel a little bit good to outdo someone on something– not when it’s easy, but when I had to work really hard on myself to get there.

Now for this week’s video…! I am ecstatic to be going back to school at Santa Monica College for journalism/multimedia storytelling. Class starts Aug. 31st, so I wanted to make sure this got out before my first day. In this episode, I talk about my classes, Amazon book rental (, and a career pivot…err…working in the same industry, but in a different country. Hope you love it! Please Like and SUBSCRIBE!



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