I Graduated…Again!

So, I have a master’s degree now!Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

When I graduated with my bachelor’s back in 2015, I was so sure I didn’t want to go back to school. I absolutely love learning, but I always felt that true learning experiences were far less common than memorization contests while in high school and college. I said I would never invest in another degree unless I knew for sure what I wanted to go back for. Now, I have a lot of interests that I could have (and probably should have) pursued, but I had a fear that I would lose my love and passion for the subjects as this sadly happened while pursuing my undergraduate minor in music industry. Fortunately and unfortunately, I had an experience during my job that inspired me enough to follow the old saying: If you want something done right, do it yourself.

I know there is always a level of naivete entering your first job, but I had a gut feeling that something was…off about my experience. I’m obviously going to opt out of details, but it was enough to inspire me to make sure that if I were to ever end up in a position of management or leadership, I want to do things completely differently. When you are on the receiving end of a negative experience, the best way to rectify it is to make the changes for what you do have control over, hence my pursuit of a management degree (online). People are often curious what all management entails, much like their confusion with my bachelor’s degree in communication. Essentially, my management program provided all the interesting parts of an MBA without the finance and economics (though I did have to take one finance course and one econ course). I don’t know if it’s just the way I learn, but it’s easier for me to study broader, conceptual topics.Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Communication gave me the skills to operate in both social, professional, and intrapersonal settings. I can read a room well and I have more than enough practice with knowing what to say and how to say it (for the most part). With management, this was an extended form of some things I learned in communication; I learned how to cooperate better with others and also how to make better, faster decisions for myself and for my team(s). I also spent a lot of time reflecting on my levels of emotional intelligence as this is a key to effective leadership. Working with others is an inevitable part of life and when you already have certain tools like organization and communication in your arsenal, it makes learning how to manage people (read: personalities) and situations a lot easier.

Though the information came easy to me, I cannot say I enjoyed my master’s experience. I didn’t find any of my courses particularly interesting and pursuing it online made it difficult to stay motivated and in tune. Professors were unpredictable with communication and the impersonal aspect left me feeling disconnected from the degree altogether. I mean, if you have had any conversation with me about school over the last two years, my go-to phrase was, “I’m not trying to rush my life, but I cannot wait to be done with school.” It was extremely frustrating to have guidelines for assignments and have to accept that you still have to apply a high level of work to essentially just check off boxes since the professors weren’t really reading them. The only pros to an online environment for school was that everything is open-book and it is much more affordable than being on a campus. I also had a balanced work schedule to devote my time to the program, even though that ended up being increasingly difficult as more things came into my life between January 2018 and December 2019.

So, would I go back in time and pursue a master’s degree again? Probably. Would I choose this major? Probably not. Would I do it online again? No. While it wasn’t at all necessary to do, I am glad I did it. I am proud of myself for accomplishing this. I am just more glad now that the schooling chapters are indefinitely finished. If you are thinking about pursuing a master’s degree, or know someone who is, I’d be glad to answer any further questions about the experience! 🙂Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

xx, AE

All photography by Fernando Trueba!

14 thoughts on “I Graduated…Again!

  1. Congratulations on completing your MBA. You are very inspiring. I do have a few questions. I am interested in taking classes to obtain my Masters in social work or industrial/organizational psychology. What do you recommend to students starting their Masters? Tips?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Lianne!! Thank you and I apologize for the delayed response. Assuming that you are interested in pursuing an online degree, I would say 1. be 100% sure of what you want to study; 2. be sure you have areas of free time to dedicate to reading, essay-writing, and exams/group work; and 3. don’t assume that just because it is online and technically everything is “open book” that you don’t need to put the work in. In my opinion, when I got a little lax in any of these three areas, I noticed I was struggling so much more. It really is all about balance so time management is going to be your best friend. Ultimately, if you are passionate about it and very clear of the path you want to take, it will be a lot easier for you v. me who started to sort of lose interest along the way because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in the long run with my degree. If you are going to be on a campus though, just take advantage of all resources offered to you, especially office hours. Never hurts to ask for help! And a final sort of funny note, in any group work scenarios, do NOT be afraid to be the bossy person if necessary!! your group will be a lot happier to have had someone on their back in the beginning stages and staying on top of deadlines than everyone scrambling at the end 🙂 I really hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!!

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  2. Congratulations!
    You made some great points about your experiences in the workforce and in your academic career. I’m not keen on 100% online degree programs, either. I’ve known some people who had enrolled in online programs. Most of them went on to graduate as you did but they too felt that experience wasn’t the best. However, it does work for many people during a particular time in their lives. Plus online programs are usually cheaper as you pointed out.

    Liked by 1 person

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