Author: Amanda Tran, Online MS in Communications Student
Full time staff at a university, director of an a cappella education non-profit, musician, band manager, blogger, concert photographer, and full time communications graduate student? Not to bore you with my LinkedIn profile, but yes, I am still able do all of these things and manage to incorporate my coursework into my busy schedule! Factoring in coursework into your hectic daily schedule may sound like a daunting task when you have to account for all of your current obligations, especially the ones that you know you don’t want to give up once you delve into advancing your education.
Luckily, Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication program through the Brian Lamb School of Communication is structured in a way that you can customize and plan for when and where you need and want to complete your coursework.
Complete course and assignment schedules are posted at the beginning of each semester, thus, allowing you to plan out when you can read those three textbook chapters, post on the discussion forum, or catch up on correspondence with your professors or classmates.
While there are strict assignment due dates, you will never have to worry about making it to class on time - the program is truly online where all of your course materials can be downloaded or viewed anytime and can be taken with you wherever you may be (yes, even on a vacation!).
Since starting the MS in Communication program in fall of 2015, I have been on an international trip, a handful of domestic trips, traveled with the competing a cappella group that I advise on campus, and even on a west coast tour with my own a cappella band. No matter what comes up in your hectic lives, I firmly believe you can make it work on your own time with this online graduate program.
So what are some tips, you ask? Because I am a very visual person, I always keep my Google calendar up to date and color-coded with all of my daily life, work, school, and music related activities, events and tasks - all in one place. This may seem like a simple fix, but you have to stick with it and really be adamant about calendaring to make it all work. Once you have everything laid out, you will be able to prioritize, and begin to see all the tiny windows of “free time” (if you even have any of that at this point). As the courses go by, you will become more familiar with the pace of your reading and coursework, and pretty soon, you will be a multi-tasking guru!
Amanda Tran 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
Amanda Tran is in her second year of the Master of Science in Communication online program through the Brian Lamb School of Communication. The Seattle native completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Washington in 2013 with BA in Anthropology - Medical Anthropology & Global Health, and a minor in music. She currently works at the UW as the office support supervisor in the Student Activities Office, is a founder and director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit music education organization, the Contemporary A Cappella Musicians' Institute, reviews and photographs concerts for local music blogs, and performs with her nationally ranked a cappella group, SeaNote. Amanda is ecstatic to share her insights and experiences of working on a masters degree while also balancing work and life.
*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.