As someone who is gearing up to graduate in the coming months with my Master of Science in Communication, I can confidently say that my best piece of advice to a new communications graduate student it to enjoy the ride. This tumultuous ride that is graduate school has very little reprieve, but that’s because there’s just so much to learn.
To make the ride worth its while, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to maximize communication graduate school enjoyment:
1.) Make friends.
Chances are, you’ll have a few classes with the same people. Purdue’s excellent at choosing its students, and the small class sizes are ideal for getting to know people a little better. Take advantage of your discussions and really get to know your peers. There are a few classes here and there where you have to work in groups, so get to know people. I love that I have friends from all over the world thanks to Purdue! These friends have come in handy a few times when I didn’t understand an assignment, or just to bounce ideas off of each other. It’s also nice to see familiar classmates in discussions, which makes that initial post so much easier to write. All it takes is a “Nice to see you in class again!”
2.) Make work a part of school.
In class, you’ll discuss a plethora of strategic communication themes. You’ll also quickly begin to realize how your current job implements these themes, even if you’re not working in communications. Every now and then, sit back in your chair or step away from your screen and just observe. You will literally see the themes you’ve discussed come to life. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get to mention it in your next discussion.
3.) Brag a little.
You definitely deserve this! Going back to school isn’t easy, so go ahead and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. I’m not saying to bring it up in every conversation, but it’s a nice reminder to yourself and to those close to you that you’re working hard. While at work, you can even bring up themes that you’ve learned to try to develop a strategy you and your team have been working on.
Yes, you’ll have late nights. There will be a few readings here and there that’ll make your head spin, and there will most assuredly be a few assignments here and there that’ll make you wonder why you did this in the first place. But, like the old adage, it’s the journey that makes the destination worth it. Here’s to you! Enjoy your ride at Purdue!
Eileen Perez 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.
*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.