I clearly remember the day I received my acceptance letter from Purdue. The letter included that well-known phrase, “Dear Jamie, Congratulations! This letter serves as your official notification of admission to the Graduate School of Purdue University.” I was going to be a student again - how exciting! I knew that it would be challenging, but my desire to develop as a professional was strong.
Then reality hit.
During the weeks between receiving my official acceptance letter and starting my first class, my mind was clouded with self-doubt. Had I made the right decision? Is now the right time? Do I really have enough time for this? What if I don’t excel as fast as my peers? Will I even like online courses? Despite my hesitations, I enrolled and got to work.
While some days are better than others, there are a few things that have helped me along the way:
- Find a support system. This was advice given to me early on by my admissions counselor - and boy, he was right! Having support in the form of a friend, spouse, parent, or sibling to remind you that you can do it is essential, especially when you need that extra boost.
- Get organized. This goes back to that adage, “work smarter, not harder.” Everyone is busy, so adding graduate-level course work on top of your, already heavy, load can be overwhelming. By staying organized, you can avoid additional stress and focus on learning.
- Believe in yourself. A bit corny, I know, but there’s no other way to say it! Remember that you’ve achieved many great things already and you are fully capable of adding ‘graduate school’ to that list of accomplishments.
Now, 15 months after receiving my acceptance letter, I’m grateful for my decision to push through the uncertainty. In just five short months, I will have a Master’s Degree in Communications from the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University.
Totally worth it.
Jamie Ingersoll 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.