Blog Learners Student Stories Student Story – Ayden

Student Story – Ayden

Every month we will showcase a student from one of our Nanodegree programs to show how their Udacity experience has impacted their life. 

This month, we talked with Ayden, a college sophomore who is passionate about creating content and sharing it with the world. From skateboarding, designing a clothing and art line, and more. Ayden knew the Udacity Digital Marketing Nanodegree was the perfect choice to elevate his marketing and social media skills.

Why choose Udacity?

I found out about Digital Marketing Nanodegree during the Spring semester of my freshman year when I had a conversation with a Udacity scholarship graduate. I was impressed with their educational and professional growth in 3 months, it encouraged me to sign up for myself so I could do the same.

The OneTen Nanodegree scholarship program was a great addition to my college studies because I had a community of peers that held me accountable for my progress. I was also able to study on my own schedule, which was great for someone like me who already has other priorities like school, work, and “of course” a social life. 

How was Udacity versus traditional college studies?

Udacity and traditional college have two very different agendas, and I’m lucky to have both experiences. I’m grateful to have the ability to live and work on campus while pursuing my studies, but I have to say it’s a time-balancing act. 

Not everyone has the time and/or budget to enroll in an on-campus program. The main reason we go to school is to get a job and build a stable future, am I right? This alone is a lot of pressure for some people, as there is little room for failure. Instead of learning concepts and understanding the material, most students find other ways just to get by and pass. I think that’s one issue with the way college is set up, but with Udacity I’d have to say it’s quite the opposite. 

What did you think of the hands-on concepts?

Regardless of whether you are a scholarship recipient or paying for it out of pocket, Udacity is great because you can get hands-on experience and complete an entire Nanodegree program in just 3-5 short months, which is one semester of traditional college. You learn real-world concepts that are actually important and practiced in your field, and you aren’t required to take a bunch of extra courses to do so.

Maybe I’m biased, but I 100% preferred the learning style of Udacity over college because Udacity wants to see you succeed. Fail as many times as it takes, it doesn’t matter. Udacity puts resources there to help you along the way until you finally pass, understood concepts, and you did it at your own pace. 

How did you balance your day-to-day demands with your Nanodegree program?

I’m a busy college student with classes, studying, working, and my hobbies, so it’s important for me to plan my days. Skateboarding is my go to exercise/social time to release the stress that comes with college. 

At the beginning of each week, I’d set aside a full day to complete all of my coursework for the week, giving me less stress and more time to complete my Nanodegree work. My cohort established weekly meetings and if I missed one, they were usually recorded and posted in our Slack channel.

Having the Slack space to visit 24/7, you could always find someone online for help with a project or just to chat with. I made some great friends that I still communicate with over a year later.

What was the most challenging part of your program?

The most challenging part of my program was juggling my Nanodegree work during finals week. I graduated from the Nanodegree program right before finals. My coursework and Nanodegree deadlines would often overlap, and I truly practiced my time management skills.

Do you think the concepts learned can be applied to your current studies?

My major is Media Production, which relates to film and content creation. There are aspects of this major that require a bit of psychology about the “target audience” concept. I learned in my Nanodegree before learning it in my college classes, so I was ahead of the curve. 

Did the Udacity experience change how you are advancing in your path?

Participating in the The OneTen scholarship gave me the opportunity to realize how interested I am in pursuing a career in tech/marketing, and graduating from my Nanodegree  has only motivated me to keep going. Udacity has been the starting point of my learning journey. I’m excited to see where I end up in the future.

Would you recommend Udacity to others and why?

Absolutely, I would recommend Udacity for several reasons. The Udacity Nanodegree programs offer students the flexibility to work at their own pace, with all deadlines and expectations outlined at the beginning of the program.  

Next, making new friends is another reason, as the other Udacity students in your program enrich the experience. Students are assigned a cohort they can turn to with questions, along with community managers and mentors who will help out  along the way.

Finally, there is no reason for failure. When I say there’s no reason for failure, I mean Udacity encourages you to pass and succeed.  If you mess up or don’t pass a project, you can continue submitting your work until you grasp the concepts.  

Did you ever consider giving up and why didn’t you?

After my multiple submissions, on a project that was challenging. My cohort and Slack community managers gave me the motivation to keep going. I remember being challenged and almost gave up, but after several times of submitting, I finally passed. Honestly, there is no feeling like seeing that “green check mark” for passing a project. 

Your hard work and dedication will pay off. You cannot beat that feeling when you overcome an obstacle – in anything you do in life. Udacity is a program that wants to see people win. I’ll add that as another reason that I would recommend Udacity to others. 

What advice would you give to prospective learners?

I’d say the biggest piece of advice is to believe in yourself! I know it sounds cliché, but the power of your mind is strong. Believe that you will achieve and it’s only right you will! 

Another piece of advice is to do your work before deadlines, consistently work the lessons for a couple hours a day, and don’t stress doing work alone! You have a cohort, a team of people just like you!  Feel free to ask questions in Slack or use the Knowledge Center with something you don’t understand. 

How soon after completing your Nanodegree program, were you able to put your learned concepts into practice?

Pretty much as soon as I graduated, I started using my personal account to see how big I could grow my following. I will admit, looking back it’s been a big change! With the Digital Marketing Nanodegree, someone could get started as soon as you learn the basics.

What did the Digital Marketing Nanodegree give you the confidence to tackle?

The concepts I learned through the experience have built my confidence to start my business and put everything online. I named my business AYDE Studios, which stands for “Anything You Dream Exists.”  Because of this experience, I’m definitely living my dreams.

The Digital Marketing Nanodegree has also given me the knowledge to market my artwork through social media and how to read the analytics. I may take the Marketing Analytics Nanodegree next to understand metrics more!  

Udacity is on a mission to change people’s lives and this scholarship program has positively impacted mine. I’m forever grateful to have had this opportunity with the Udacity/OneTen scholarship program. 

If you have a chance to do an upcoming Udacity scholarship, do not hesitate because it can change your life. 

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