by Callie Goodwin

I was a year into my role as the social media strategist at a small, private, women’s college (and struggling with some intense imposter syndrome) the day I saw a tweet promoting eduWeb’s 2019 scholarship program. Our college had been through some major changes in the previous two years, as the marketing and communications office was reduced from a staff of eight to… just me. Learning to navigate the #TeamOf1 life was difficult, especially considering that I was new to the field. And that’s where the eduWeb scholarship comes in.

I saw the tweet as I was searching the #HESM hashtag, and I quickly applied. I tried not to let myself get too excited, but I silently prayed I would be chosen, as I knew that my school could not afford to send me otherwise. A few months later, I opened my email to see the incredible announcement that I had been selected for the scholarship. I was ecstatic and ran to my boss’s office to share the news with him. He shared my excitement and told me that he had also nominated me after seeing one of my tweets about it.

In July 2019, I jumped on a plane and headed to Philly. I knew this conference was going to be great, but I didn’t quite realize just how life-changing it would be for me– both personally and professionally. I gave myself a pep talk that I would fight my shy instincts and do everything to make the most of this opportunity; then I jumped in and did it. I attended all the events, sessions, dinners, and networking opportunities that were offered. I met tons of Twitter folks in real life and formed some incredible friendships. I was like a sponge with a fire hose of information hitting me full-force, and I was soaking up everything I could.

At eduWeb, I found the community that I had been lacking and desperately needed. I remember calling my mom after the first full day, trying not to cry as I shared how happy I was that I had finally found “my people” who not only understood higher ed social media life but also encouraged and championed me to keep going and dream big. I realized that I wasn’t alone, and I was given countless resources to help me to do the job I loved even better. I left eduWeb feeling full, inspired, and overflowing with new ideas to implement as soon as I got back to the office. As someone new to the higher ed world, the experience and opportunity were priceless.

If you are thinking of applying or know someone who should apply, this is your sign: do it now! I will forever be grateful that I applied and that my boss took the time to nominate me. Not only did eduWeb provide me with dozens of sessions and keynotes with applicable tips, tricks, information, but it also provided connections and friendships in the industry that have endured well past the end of the conference.

Callie Goodwin is the social media strategist for Columbia College of South Carolina and a recipient of the 2019 eduWeb Scholarship for Developing Professionals.