Like many adults today the decision to return to school revolved around the issue of time. I had to ask myself if I would be able to make the time available in my already busy schedule to go back to college. Would I have the time to read? Would I have the time to do the assignments and projects? Would I have the time to dedicate myself to going back to school? After all there are three children, a husband, a full time job and other commitments to consider.
I wanted to enhance my life, learn, and find a way to change my career direction and for that I needed to pursue a higher education. At the same time I did not want to miss out on time with my family or chance not being there for them at their important milestones. I knew if I chose a traditional campus experience I would be faced with driving to campus and would be locked into attending class on a specific day and time. What I needed was flexibility! I was not ready to give up being an involved mom and being a part of all my kids school functions, concerts, and events nor did I want to walk away from my volunteer work. At the same time I did not want to sacrifice education. I was not simply chasing a piece of paper; I was determined to receive a communications graduate degree from a trusted prestigious university.
The online format gave me the ability to check into my classroom when I had the time. That flexibility was extremely easy to fall in love with. Each one of my classes laid out my deadlines at the beginning of the course allowing me plenty of time to schedule my life around those dates. Even better, if I have a long day at work or if one of my rather busy teenagers has an event at school I still have the opportunity to be a mom first. I might log into my classroom at 10 AM or I might be checking in at 10 PM, it makes no difference to my professors as long as I am meeting my deadlines. After all, isn’t an education about enhancing and improving our talents, not missing out on all the important moments while we pursue our degrees?
Even if you are not a tech savvy person there is no reason to panic. Purdue has done an amazing job of structuring their online classroom to be user friendly. If you can use a mouse and a keyboard you can navigate their portal. On the rare occasions you have any difficulty; help is just a phone call away. I have never regretted choosing to attend Purdue online. When you attend online you have to do the work but you have the opportunity to do that work on your timeline at your convenience. I will confess that for me there are times when the best time ends up being when the rest of the house is tucked into bed, and I may or may not have a glass of wine on my desk while typing.
It takes dedication and determination to complete any degree program, which path you choose to take to get there is about what works for you.
Jennifer Scott 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.