Senior year of a college student’s undergraduate career is probably the most exciting and invigorating feeling one can ever experience. Graduation is around the corner and you are one step closer to earning that degree you worked so hard for the past four years. Although you are excited to leave your ‘second home’, it is difficult not to think about your plans post-graduation and what the next chapter of your life will look like. Do you pursue the career of your dreams; go back to school and make yourself more marketable to employers; or do you try to do both simultaneously? Many recent college grads struggle with this because it is difficult to determine what choice will work best for them. It is okay to be confused and nervous to enter the real world. We have all been through it before and eventually, everything falls right into place.
Just a few months ago, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources. I always knew that I wanted to invest in my future in order to grow as a professional and become enriched with the knowledge necessary to perform in my field; however, I was unaware of the steps I needed to take to achieve my goals. Most of my junior year of college was spent researching graduate programs, the return on investment for getting a Master’s in HR degree, and whether or not I had the desire to make the commitment. I finally came to the conclusion that if I was ever planning on pursuing a second degree, it is better to do it now rather than later when I have other major commitments. The University of Scranton offers accelerated programs for students who want to work on a fast track to receive their Master’s in HR degree. I applied and was accepted starting my senior year of undergrad, which helped relieve the stress that develops several months before graduation. In a sense, this was ideal because I was able to get a taste of both worlds simultaneously and have a head start towards my future goals. On the other side, it was an experience that I was definitely not expecting.
The transition from undergrad to an online graduate program was not easy, but manageable. I had to become accustomed to numerous aspect of the program I had never experienced before. Transitioning from in-class learning to having to teach myself on a daily basis was the most difficult, from my perspective. This was also a test of my time management skills, as well as implementing work/life balance so that my work was done before the designated deadlines, while still having my personal life. It was also a challenge to meet new people as virtual classrooms limit interaction and communication between students.
The most important thing that I have learned thus far as I embark on this new journey is to create balance. School is just as important as having a personal life. Post graduation, I am a full time employee in a HR role while pursuing my Master’s degree. As I mentioned, nothing is ever easy, but eventually it all falls into place. It is a challenge at times to work a full 8 hour shift then come home only to do more work. Some days I am proud of myself and other days I think about how I got myself into all of it. If you keep a positive mind, use your time wisely, and put forth your best effort, you will set yourself up for success both in the short and long term.