Experience is measured in little moments that culminate into a larger journey. The experiences in a relationship can develop into a lifelong journey of love and marriage. The experiences in college residence life can develop into independence and confidence.
Education and knowledge are experiences that you own. It becomes part of your being and as a professional creates unique qualities that make your footprint different than those who came before you.
For the Purdue University Master of Science in Communication program, one word could describe my most enjoyable experience: application.
The word varies in meaning but conveys what was critical in translating the text, discussion boards, projects, and research to my profession.
I came into the program not knowing how my lifestyle would adjust to late night study sessions, leaving the family behind on a Friday night to write a paper at the local coffee shop, or devoting my lunch hour to reading scholarly articles.
But my favorite experiences turned out to be the late night study sessions, writing a paper and reflecting on what I had learned, and shutting my door at lunch to read.
With each class I craved the opportunity to apply what I was learning to my communications career and profession I love.
An article would trigger an idea that applied to a project, initiative, or a positive efficiency in my role to the greater good of my team.
When I decided to apply to the online communications program, I felt vulnerable and under the microscope to those around me. Would I complete the program? Would I apply the concepts to my job? Could I balance work, family, and school?
But the application came easy.
It came easy not only because of the high caliber of the faculty and assigned readings or projects but the natural application of the material to my communications career. I felt encouraged and pushed to discuss with my classmates how the readings not only could be applied but were being applied through the coursework.
Experience relies on the person along for the journey.
I was thankful my journey in this program at Purdue invigorated my desire to apply each experience thoughtfully and ultimately, strategically as intended.
Stefanie Leiter is an alumni of 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.