This week, I went back to college. I lived in a dorm, ate in the cafeteria, and went to class…all of them! No, I am not embarking on a new career, I just completed my final year of Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College. Pending a final project, I am now a certified Travel Marketing Professional. This is an amazing industry and it has truly been a wonderful experience to learn from some of the giants of the tourism trade through this program. Not to mention, I have made friends and colleagues for life.
Marketing College is hosted at the University of North Georgia in the delightful town of Dahlonega. About an hour north of Atlanta, Dahlonega is a picturesque place in the foothills of the Appalachians. It was the site of the first major gold rush in the United States and today is the heart of Georgia’s wine country. Its rolling hills make it an ideal cycling destination and prove a challenge for runners hoping to get in a few miles between classes. I speak from experience.
I’m on week five of my training for Run Disney’s Glass Slipper Challenge, so thankfully it was a recovery week and I only had to run three miles each day through the winding hills of North Georgia. My running partner this week was my friend, Kim Caron, owner of The Caron Gallery in Tupelo. The first morning out, just as we were about to get going a deer ran right in front of us. Luckily, this was our only encounter with wildlife, other than our classmates at karaoke each night.
My trainer (and husband, John) constantly asks me if I feel stronger. This week, my answer is YES! My pace was almost a full minute faster and I was able to keep up with my running partner and carry on a conversation at the same time. It feels great to see results after just five weeks of training and gives me even more motivation to keep training hard. Thanks, Coach!
I am thankful for the three years I spent at Marketing College. I am excited to take what I have learned back to the Tupelo CVB to help make it an even better experience for our visitors. Most importantly, I am blessed to have begun relationships that will last a lifetime. My class will always be “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and I look forward to hot dog games and many, many calls from Beth…or Ben. Thanks, Dahlonega. I will definitely be back!