Should You Earn a Master’s While Unemployed?

In January of last year, I received the announcement that the facility where I had worked for more than 10 years was shutting down by the end of the year and everyone was going to lose their jobs.  This was of course news that I didn’t want to hear, but truth was it was also not unexpected.  I’ve worked manufacturing my entire adult life and the signs that we would be shut down had been evident for over 5 years.  The saddest part of having to leave there was all the friends that I’d made that had become like a family to me.  They’d been there with me through the time that I was a student, a young husband and father and eventually a leader within that same organization.  The truth was, as it sadly has become a reality for many Americans, that I was very soon not going to have a job.

I knew immediately when I heard the news of the plant closure that I was going to have to go back to school.  I knew two things at that juncture: 1.) that I didn’t want to continue working in factories the rest of my life, and 2.) that I needed to learn to do something that I was good at and that I enjoyed doing.  

Communication was a natural fit for me.  The trick was to find a school that was also a natural fit.  I was not interested in for-profit schools, out of both disagreement with their philosophies for existence and for doubts about their credibility that have recently proven to be founded by national events.

I wanted a school that had a long tradition of both prestige and academic rigor.  I knew that I had to pursue an online program as it was impossible for me to go back to a traditional classroom setting.  For these reasons, I started looking around and found the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue.  I cold-called the admissions office and from that very first call was convinced that I’d found what I was looking for.  The program and the school was everything that I was looking for and let’s be honest, Purdue’s reputation speaks for itself.  While I’ve never been to the West Lafayette campus, when I do go for my graduation this spring I know that I’ll be right at home.  Boiler up!   

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Chris Burch 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.