In the summer of 2015, I decided to go on a path that I never would have thought I would pursue after finishing up my bacherlor’s degree; I applied to graduate school. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely support everyone in their goals to receive a higher education and go beyond their undergraduate degree. However, I wasn’t so enthusiastic about it at first.
I received my Bachelor of Journalism degree in Magazine Editing from the Missouri School of Journalism. Throughout my undergraduate career, I was told that getting my masters degree would be pointless unless I wanted to eventually become a professor (something that I had absolutely no interest in doing). So, I became convinced that I would never need to go to graduate school because, “What was the point?”
Is this “Adulting”?
After being out in the real world and going from internship to job to another job, I decided I needed to strive for something more. I needed to gain more skills. I needed to go back to school, but I wouldn’t go back for journalism. I felt as though going back to school for journalism will only land me in the same position or will lead me in the direction of becoming a teacher or professor of the subject.
Once I decided that journalism was not the route to pursue for my masters, I looked into schools that were in the St. Louis area. I chose to apply to a school that offered the Strategic Communication and Leadership program; a field that was involved in media of some sort, but wasn’t quite journalism. I loved how I could go after something that still interested me and also offered another spectrum of media that I didn’t learn as much in my undergraduate experiences. I was aCenter in summer of 2015 and started my courses later that fall semester.
My first year of graduate school went by extremely fast. As a previous professor of mine used to say, “Time flies when you’re stressed out.” Although much of the coursework was not as ‘all-nighter worthy’ or as challenging as I would have thought, there were times when I questioned why I came back to school while I was in the middle of writing a 15-page research paper.
School was back in my life and it hit me hard. The work was definitely not an aspect that I missed, but I loved that I was learning about new tools that I can use in my career. A majority of my classes inspired me to continue learning certain topics outside of the classroom and even sparked my interest in going to conferences, summits, and networking events.
Where I’m at Now
Though I’m in the beginning of my second and final year, I find myself counting down the days until graduation for two reasons: the end of my schooling and also excitement with starting a career. After I obtain my masters next May, I promise that I am completely finished with school (maybe). I’m happy that I’ve gone back to school to get my masters, but I can also appreciate not having to go to any more night classes and staying up to finish papers and projects.
On the other hand, I’m excited to finally start my career and having a multitude of opportunities that I can apply for and possibly be offered is the start of a new life for me. Graduate school was the first stepping stone in me advancing my career options and beginning to see more that the world has and also more of what I can do with the things I’ve learned.
If you’re considering going to graduate school, I suggest that you evaluate where you are in your career now:
- Are you happy with where you are in your career and what you’re doing?
- Do you feel the need to go back to school to further your career path?
- Does the dream career position of your choice require a masters degree?
If yes was the answer to one of these, begin to research graduate programs that offer the material or program that you’re interested in learning. Take time to see if the school that catches your eye has courses that will allow you to grow in your career and in your skill set. Also, reach out to professors who teach in the program or a director for the program to get more information about it before you actually apply. These steps will allow you to see the worth in going completely back to school or seeking out other options.