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5 Easy Steps to Transform Into a Superhero (in Grad School)

What do Wonder Woman, Superman, Spiderman, Thor, Hulk and Super Girl all have in common? Besides being my kids’ best friends and movie protagonists, they exemplify power and heroic qualities. Superheroes display super-human strength, speed, agility, leadership, invincibility, intelligence and altruism.

While you may not have the ability to fly with a cape, vertically scale skyscrapers, project energy bolts or swing invisible lasso ropes as a grad student, you can improve your skills by enrolling in Purdue’s online MS in Communication. Supernatural powers such as independence, confidence, organization, time management, technology savviness, responsibility, motivation, scholarly comprehension, social interactivity and innovativeness will come to fruition in an enhanced synergy that will enable you to persevere to your final destination! With graduation, comes increased knowledge and experience, which might lead to a career change or a highly deserved promotion.

1. Find Your Superhero Headquarters
Most superheroes operate from a disguised headquarter location equipped with high-tech instruments for detecting villains. Your secret base in graduate school is your home or library or whatever secret hide-away that you decide to utilize to accomplish your coursework.

2. Find Your Superhero Weaponry
Your armory is Purdue’s extensive textbook readings listed in a weekly schedule or access to countless scholarly journals in their online research library. This knowledge will enable you to construct well-defined communication plans in your career, and teach you how to implement critical thinking and creativity to strategize your planning.

3. Find Your Superhero Crime Lab
Your grad school crime lab is the online discussion forums where you will study and dissect your classmates’ responses using theoretical frameworks and experiences to support your positions. These in-depth online conversations are vital toward student-centered learning, while being conducive for a high interactivity with multiple students from diverse backgrounds. Using both hypothetical and realistic scenarios, you will apply your learning to your communications profession.

4. Surround Yourself With Other Superheroes
You may not live on a destroyed planet such as Krypton or in a mythical land such as Asgard, but you will exist in the virtual world which will allow you to network globally at a convenient, flexible pace according to your own scheduling needs. Your supporting cast members will be your grad school classmates, and your instructor will be your team leader. Guidance, constructive feedback and multi-tasking will be your North Star in order to beat your archenemies-- time and exhaustion-- until you reach your desired apex.

5. Build Your Superhero Strength and Confidence Through Practice
Your technical savviness and digital social powers will improve and gain strength because of the engaging platform involved. As an online learner, you will benefit from discussing your classmates’ experiences, while gaining additional insight into the literature through your own writing.

Being a distance learner at Purdue has been a rewarding experience for me, and has enhanced many communication skills that have been beneficial in striving toward my professional and personal goals.

As you begin your process of weighing the pros and cons of enrolling as an online learner vs. a traditional campus student; I’m confident that you will love what Purdue’s online MS in Communication can offer you, and the exciting opportunities that it will open up for you. I encourage you to tap into your powers, and take the risk. It will be an intriguing learning adventure filled with many twists and turns, and it may even transform you into a SUPERHERO!

Learn More
Joni Bertrand 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
Joni Bertrand is a communications professional with 23 years of experience in marketing, advertising, public relations, fundraising management, product development, financial planning and business consulting. She has earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Marketing and Merchandising, and is in her final semester at Purdue University working toward completion of a Master of Science in Strategic Communication.

Joni has held several executive management positions within the corporate retail industry, and has extensive experience in leadership roles within campaign/project management, human resource coordination and educational curriculum development with numerous nonprofit organizations. She is an academic tutor to middle school, high school and college students; is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, and serves on a few professional boards of directors. Joni is a frequent writer for industry publications, as well as corporate and school newsletters.

Her research interests include ethical communication, corporate crisis management and educational leadership.

In her free time, Joni enjoys photography, traveling, writing and cheering on her three kids in their athletic achievements. Fun Fact: Because of her Dutch heritage, she can actually “tip toe through the tulips” and dance in wooden shoes!

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