November 17, 2015
By: Ann Marie Kimble
You have a full-time job. You’re right in the thick of your career. You have a family. It feels like you barely have any personal time as it is–so how can you complete a career-defining graduate program while still keeping your job, taking care of your family, and enjoying your personal life?
Earning a master’s degree isn’t just a matter of boosting your salary and employment prospects. It’s an extremely rewarding life experience in which you discover your path to self-fulfillment while meeting amazing people along the way. Here’s a brief guide – from someone who has been there – to help you fit a master’s program into your busy life.
Put Yourself Out There
It’s cliché, but “putting yourself out there” is essential to your success as a graduate student. Be completely open with yourself and your instructors so that you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re reserved, you’ll be missing out on the full graduate experience, which is as much about networking and engagement as it is tests and projects.
Don’t Compare it to Your Undergrad Studies
You will naturally associate school with your undergraduate days—endless lectures, courses you had minimal interest in, and the perpetual hindrance of homework.
A graduate program is nothing like that, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve grown quite a bit since you last attended college. Graduate school is a chance to reacquaint yourself with learning. You will likely find that you are better at managing your time, staying focused and running on a tight schedule.
Do What Works Best for You
The HTM program is designed to accommodate busy adults just like you, with an online curriculum that gives you the autonomy to choose how you manage the work and stay ahead of your deadlines.
All you have to do is evaluate your life and ask yourself, “When will I be able to sit down and do the work?” For some people it’s in long spurts over the weekend, and for others it’s in bits and pieces throughout the week. As you go, you’ll find your own rhythm and preferences.
Communication goes hand in hand with putting yourself out there. Make a conscious effort to communicate frequently with your team members, groups, professors and family, and you’ll automatically be on the right track. If you’re having conflicts with your schedule or difficulty with an assignment, let your professors know what’s going on. Rather than being just another student, it’s important to build strong relationships within the program, communication being the foundation of those relationships.
Most importantly, make sure you embrace and cherish the experience. The relationships you build with your peers and colleagues are lifelong bonds.
If you’re looking for a program that produces visionary leaders in an upbeat, collaborative, and personal environment, the San Diego State University HTM Master’s Program might be for you. Click here to learn more.