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5 Challenges That Tried to Get In The Way of Earning My Masters

It never ceases to amaze me what all can happen in a few short years.  When I decided to go back to school to pursue my Master’s in Communication I knew there would be challenges with finding the time in my busy day to complete my work.  Especially, as many will tell you, I constantly strive for the A+.  

Graduating with a 4.0 was not an easy task. I have a full time job, three kids, two dogs, two cats, six chickens and a husband.  Time was my greatest enemy. I felt I was driving a dagger through it and sacrificing precious time with my family to read my assignments or type up papers.  What I learned is that life does not simply pause so you can concentrate on what you want.  

What challenges came my way during the course of my studies?  

1.) Surgery for myself

I had major surgery, a hysterectomy for enlarging tumors, only to suffer severe complications and end up with an abscess that turned septic.  I was in the hospital for 10 days and amazingly I not only completed my work connected to IV’s, but I only turned in one assignment a few hours late. 

2.) Surgery for my son

Just as I was back on my feet and recovering from that harrowing experience my son started complaining of abdominal pain.  His pain quickly escalated and I found myself pacing in a hallway at the hospital as he underwent an emergency appendectomy.  Whew, another crisis adverted.  I recall sitting in his room that night with the lap top on my lap pounding out my weekly post and hitting the submit button with a few minutes to spare.

3.) Hospitalization of my father

My father was hospitalized and we nearly lost him to double pneumonia and then came his diagnoses of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a battle we still are fighting). 

4.) Career change of my husband

My husband, who was also pursuing his Grad degree, changed careers and added an hour to his drive to work. 

5.) Flood of my house

We also had a water line break and flood our house which resulted in a three month stint of living in the local Holiday Inn Express (did I mention the three kids??) Living in a hotel for three months with three teenagers probably deserves a medal on its own, but doing it while maintaining a 4.0 might deserve a trophy. 

There were plenty of other little everyday life challenges as well.  Colds, kids with Strep, challenges at work, and carting the kids around but at the end of the day I was committed to this degree path and being able to look myself in the mirror and say “I did my best”.  

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Jennifer Scott is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author

I am currently a graduate student embarking on my final class in Strategic Communications.  My current day job is as an Environmental Health Specialist for the local Health Department where I often have the opportunity to flex my writing skills in the form of exciting reports for the government.  
I have three children, 16 and two 13 year olds, a boy and a girl. I often get asked if they are twins but for the record, they are not.  I adopted my daughter when she was 6 and it has been a wonderful, exciting, and yes stressful time as well.
Beyond my work and family I find myself looking for ways to engage with my community. I am currently on the United Fund board for our area, as well as the Local Emergency Planning Board, the Bioterrorism board, and from time to time I organize fundraisers for different projects.
As an adult returning to college to pursue higher education, I bring with me tons of life experience and extensive understanding of how the online education forum works in today’s busy world.  My biggest flaw is I am sarcastic and tend to be a wee bit outspoken, then again that also so happens to be my biggest strength depending on the day.
When I am not behind a keyboard I am spending time with my family going camping, hiking, attending the latest movie and anything that involves spending time together as a family.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.