We were introduced to Sarah Montgomery a couple of months ago. It's been a joy learning about her journey through education (both her own personal exploration and her commitment to the field of higher education professionally). Sarah's insight into crafting a life devoted to learning reminds all of us to find new ways to reinvigorate our daily education.
Enjoy reading our interview with Sarah here, and be sure to check out her latest feature in En Root!
Tell us about how your dedication to the field of education has played out in your career. What has been your approach to staying committed to your own personal education?
I love to learn! So when it came to choosing a path or direction I chose to work in higher education to be in the space where I felt most inspired. We get to attempt to solve and explore hard and curious questions in education, and it’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. My approach to staying committed to my personal education is to let myself explore rabbit holes as they come up. I identify as a "multipotentialite," so I like learning about a lot of different things all of the time. I also am involved with professional associations and that allows me to keep my pulse on specific areas of higher education.
At OutGrowth, we are committed to giving access. Tell us about how your work provides access to education, as you define it.
As a professional working at a high education institution, I feel that continual education is expected and encouraged. Most institutions provide a heavy discount for academic courses and there is a strong culture around professional association engagement.
Tell us about a pinnacle point or moment in your professional journey.
Over the past two years, I was able to present at five professional conferences about work that I was apart of. This was an affirming milestone for me professionally, to be recognized and feel like I’ve given back to a field that has inspired met.
How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?
Through this experience, I’ve learned that I am doing meaningful work that the field has interest in! It’s given me a lot of confidence to keep trying things, documenting the work and its impact, and most importantly, to share! This experience has taught me the importance of a professional community as a source of inspiration and support.
What are your top three pieces of advice for students and professionals who are looking to re-imagine how to design (or redesign) their lives and careers?
1. Prototype - How can you gather more stories in an area or direction that you are curious about? How can you try something in order to get a taste, so that you can decide if that is a direction you want to go?
2. Reflect Often - How do you know where you are going if you don’t know where you are?
3. Build Your Team - Who is on your board of mentors? Make a list and ask them specific questions so that they can lend their expertise.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Ask for what you need and you will be supported.
What is your favorite quote?
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.” - Bill Gates
Based on your professional experience, what are the top three career competencies that you believe students should cultivate to find success and fulfillment, regardless of what path they choose?
1. Introspection - Know what you like and don’t like and how that affects you in the workplace.
2. Professionalism/Work Ethic - Do what you say you are going to do and do it to the best of your ability. Your reputation will work for you with diligence.
3. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving - Ask good questions and try things!
What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2020?
I plan to staying present and take things one week at a time. I want to continue to explore and grow a new hobby that I acquired from a Creative Mornings Field Trip, make Zines, and distill some creative nuggets in that space to share out.
Sarah is an experienced higher education professional who is passionate about creating efficient systems for students to achieve their learning goals (with a current focus in professional development and experiential education). She appreciates interdisciplinary approaches and trying new things in a mindful and sustainable way. Sarah always loves learning and promotes mindful reflection and self-improvement both personally and professionally.