So, I have a master’s degree now!
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.
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! :)
All photography by Fernando Trueba!