The journey of deciding to look at and apply to graduate school
My July has been filled with research and continued to be filled with research. A few months ago I discovered I had a serious itch of furthering my education to receive a Masters degree and potentially a Ph.D. as well.
While I initially thought I would spend more time in the industry before attending school for a Masters, I also received a lot of advice on not waiting too long before you have fully escaped school mode.
Another initial thought I had in mind was to complete an online graduate program. In fact I was super set on one from Penn State World Campus, However, as I have grown to acknowledge there is no chance for school assistantships and research on a virtual Masters program. Therefore, I decided on-campus is likely the best option. Plus, I want to explore a new place, preferably, a walkable city and maybe get a bit of campus/city life since my whole undergraduate career was COVID-19 aka my bedroom. I love the work from home atmosphere, but a mix of both is also good.
So… the research began to find communications Masters and Ph.D. programs.
I actually love researching colleges and universities. I love learning about different higher education institutions (hence why I may go for a Ph.D. so I have the opportunity to work in higher education). I’m all-in on helping anyone in their research for colleges. I’m already playing the organizer in my own brother’s search for a school to call home in two years. He’s not challenging enough though haha, so if anyone wants any help I gladly volunteer in assisting on the college app process.
Fortunately, I had in-mind a few key things I really want in a graduate program along with a curriculum I can appreciate.
Preferably a big school. My undergraduate campus was quite small and I always dreamed of attending a larger institution. After all, I did go to the largest high school in the state of Connecticut. For graduate purposes, there is also more room for the opportunity to become a teacher’s assistant and participate in research/curriculum projects with big schools. I also love the wide range of places/dining/activities/gyms and school spirit that comes with a larger institution. These are some of the things I wished I had during my undergraduate studies. Although it truthfully would not have mattered anyway because of COVID-19.
A walkable area. I don’t have a license and won’t have a car likely even if I’m able to attain one before I go. (I have some depth perception eye issues which makes driving extremely anxiety inducing for me.) However, I love to walk and would gladly walk everywhere. I also want a place where I can see myself after I finish graduate school and have my own space.
Opportunity for assistantships. This is evidently number one and the biggest deciding factor on where I’ll end-up going. I cannot afford to pay graduate school tuition, so I am praying that I will receive assistantship opportunities.
Ideally warmer weather. This doesn’t completely hold true for all the schools I am looking at, especially my top choice. You do have to make sacrifices sometimes as nothing will always be perfect or ideal. I do love the warmth and sunshine since I really enjoy being outdoors and appreciate walking places.
I currently have a top four, a top six, and a top eight list. Some larger city apartments are just so expensive, so I have definitely made some cuts to my list that way. I do have some outsider options which would only be used if I can’t manage getting into any of my top four/six with the financial assistance I would need. One of the nice things about graduate school is the application process is a bit longer for some universities meaning that I could apply a bit later on which helps in saving money with applications. It also works out that my top four are due way before the two in my top six. I likely will wait to apply to those schools and see if I hear back from the others first to save money on applications. However, we are manifesting positive vibes that I get into the school that's perfect for me.
Next comes the step of filling out applications and pouring my heart and soul into them to give myself the best chance at continuing to achieve my dreams.
I'm planning on a Fall 2023 admission, so there's lots of time left before I attend, and you never know what can happen in a year. The time is now though to start gearing up on application materials.
Overall, I am excited for whatever the future brings.
I envision myself thriving in graduate school in a professional role, as well as focusing more on myself with my blog, social media work, health, self-work and commitment to saying “yes,” more.
I envision being able to make more of a brand for myself and investing in that wholeheartedly.
I envision walking to workout classes nice and early, having a Starbucks or meeting up at a coffee shop and sitting down working on schoolwork.
I envision finding a place and a city I’m excited to call home.