The end of every semester is always a great time to engage in self reflection about your classes and projects. What could you have done differently? What have you learned, both personally and academically? The end of every spring semester seems to have more weight to it however, as it not only signals the end of another 15 weeks of classes, but the end of an academic year as well. And for those who have reached the conclusion of their graduate school journey, it signifies both the close of one chapter and the beginning of a brand new adventure.
Here, at the close of my first full year enrolled in graduate school, I could tell you a multitude of things that I learned. For example, I learned that time management and balance are very important in order to enjoy your time in graduate school. Yes, you will be spending more time completing readings, writing papers and conducting research than you ever did in your undergraduate career, but that only makes the moments spent outside the classroom that much more important. I’ve also watched my confidence grow by leaps and bounds, personally, professionally and academically because, yes, I can actually do this. I’ve learned to rely on my peers, both inside and outside the classroom and ask for help when I need it. The support I received this past year from mentors, faculty, my cohort, my friends and my family has been amazing and I know I could not have been this successful without them.
This got me thinking about what my fellow graduate students feel about their own journeys. Would they feel the same way as I do? So, I put my research skills to the test once again, and asked the current group of MCOM scholars the following questions:
What did you learn this year? (academically or personally)
What was your most memorable academic experience this semester?
In true MCOM fashion, my fellow scholars did not let me down. I’ve included some of their responses below (with their permission of course).
I learned that you can spend 2 years having no idea what you’re working towards, and still somehow figure it out in the end (kind of). My most memorable academic experience this semester was seeing that “Your Brain on Drugs” ad in Dr. Sundstrom’s class. Still makes me hungry…
-Tim Rule, M.A. 2016
I learned to “embrace the blur” when you’re overwhelmed and unrested. I can take this mindset into all areas of life now and in the future. It is somewhat of a comical mantra when life is rough. My most memorable academic experience this semester was presenting at the graduate school poster session. It was a great opportunity to see what other graduate students are researching, and opened my eyes to the diversity of student research interest on campus!
-Stephanie McInnis, M.A. 2017
This year I learned how to accept change and handle a million things being thrown my way. I learned how to remain calm and collected under pressure while working and being so far away from home. My most memorable academic experience was the moment after I had conducted an interview with the Marketing Director of the Athletic program here at CofC. After the interview I realized that all of my data was beginning to make sense and was piecing together organically instead of forcefully. I finally felt like I was doing something right.
–Jill Skipper, M.A. 2017
In my first year of grad school, I have learned not to be afraid of criticism. My most memorable experience would have to be when I interned for NBC at the Democratic Debate in downtown Charleston. I absolutely fell in love with the electric atmosphere that surrounded an event like this; a hundred different moving pieces working perfectly together. It was during that experience that I finally decided what career I wanted to pursue.
–Brandy Francis, M.A. 2017
Hmmm, what did I learn this year… I learned that life CAN occur outside of graduate school! 🙂 I also learned (yet again) that sometimes the seemingly hardest opportunities (or even the least attractive) can turn out to be the most rewarding. For example, I was nudged into a graduate student government position for this academic year, and realized belatedly I was in charge of managing a huge sum of money and guiding the expenditure process of 11 other graduate student organizations… in addition to my two part-time jobs and Masters academic work! What a shock! And yet, now at the end of the year, I am extremely thankful I was not-so-subtly nudged into this position. 🙂 My most memorable academic experience this year was co-creating and managing the partnered event between the local nonprofit Begin With Books and the West Ashley Barnes & Noble. I entirely enjoyed putting my communication research and learned skills to work. It was a tiny taste of what I really like – event management!
–Megan Gould, M.A. 2016
This year, I learned that great things can happen when you get out of your comfort zone. I have met so many wonderful people and improved personally and academically because I have taken some chances. My most memorable academic experience was presenting my original research in Chicago. I was able to present my original research at a national conference with other health care professionals as well as experience a new city. I felt so lucky for the opportunity.
–Stephanie Meier, M.A. 2017
I want to thank you all for reading the MCOM Blog this year and for keeping up with the program. We are truly thankful for your support and readership. I hope all of you have wonderful summers and I look forward to writing for you again for the 2016-2017 academic year. If you happen to be joining us beginning in Fall 2016, Welcome Aboard! We can’t wait to meet you and help you begin your graduate school journey. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the MCOM family for the 2017-2018 academic year, please visit our website.
-Stephenie Snow, M.A. 2017