Yesterday marked three weeks on the “countdown to commencement.” As I reflect on my journey through advanced studies, I think about FAQs from educators, peers and professionals alike. At the start of my graduate career, I could not avoid one question. “Why did I choose grad school?”
During my time at Southern Miss. I have given and heard several answers to this question. Many students want to become professors or collegiate administrators. Others seek to achieve a lifelong dream. Some want more time before entering “the real world” or simply don’t know what they want to do. Finally, there is a significant number of grad students who either could not find a job after graduation or were not happy in their career or position.
None of the reasons mentioned above applied to me. I began to consider graduate school the semester prior to my graduation from Southeastern. I had an amazing undergraduate career and wanted to expand on my knowledge and experiences. That was enough for me.
Although I had completed several internships, excelled in my classes and networked with many professionals, I still wanted more. After attending the 2014 PRSSA Regional Conference at LSU and speaking with the USM PRSSA advisor, Dr. Cindy Blackwell, I knew that graduate school would be my next chapter.
As I approach the end of my time at Southern Miss., I could not be more happy with my decision to earn my Master’s Degree. USM has given me more than I have time or room to discuss in this post. I encourage anyone interested in pursuing graduate studies to research institutions and programs and understand how they will help you reach your long-term career goals.
If you love public relations and want more, know that the public relations industry is one that requires lifelong learning to achieve success. Working in the profession will give you more than you want. Or so, I’ve heard.
Here are five pieces of advice for those interested.
1. Don’t go to grad school just because you don’t have to pay for it.
2. Don’t compare your experience or education to others. (I did… a lot. )
3. Experience will provide more preparation than grad school, for those interested in practice vs. teaching or research.
4. You will never know everything (about anything). Don't stress about entering the profession. Everyone has to start somewhere.
"It's PR not the ER!" - Teni Karapetian, Vice President of National Publicity, STX Entertainment
5. Finally, a wise comment from Carolyn Markey, General Motors' Manager of Global Manufacturing Communications. “You will never ever, ever regret furthering your education.”
Are you considering grad school? Do you agree or disagree with any of my advice or comments? Did this post spark curiosity or more questions? Let’s continue the conversation. Comment below.