Finishing my undergraduate experience during a pandemic is hard to put into words. Sometimes, I feel as if my college experience ended during the last half of my junior year, which was almost a year ago. College wasn’t going to end how I thought it would. So, that’s when I decided I wanted to apply to graduate school. Graduate school was always presented as a great way to separate yourself in the job world, along with gaining professional experience that will make jumpstarting your career easier.
A year ago, I had no plans of pursuing my masters degree right away.
When the pandemic hit, which made finding a job more difficult, I decided graduate school would be the best option for me. I’m currently a communications media marketing student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I’m choosing to further my education from where I’m at now, and planning on majoring in public affairs with a concentration in human resources.
As I pulled up the application, I instantly became nervous. Applying to graduate school is some serious stuff. The process of applying for graduate school is a lot more stressful than applying for undergraduate. They look more into what you achieved during your college experience that would make you a great fit for the program.
If a letter of recommendation seems challenging to get, maybe you should consider other options. I didn’t have to pass my GRE (thank God!). The application requirements include a resume, two letters of recommendation and a goal statement. That’s not too hard, right? The resume and the letters of recommendation came easy, but then the challenging part? Not so much. You need to write a goal statement.
I see the daunting question written in my mind over and over again: “Why do you think you would make a great asset to this program?”
I’ve stayed up many late nights researching how to write the perfect goal statement; but, I realized something like this comes with experience. The key to writing a great goal statement? Reflect on personal experiences that brought you to where you are today. I brought into my goal statement how I originally wanted to become a teacher, but after reevaluating myself, I knew that teaching wasn’t where my heart was.
Now, as I still work on my goal statement, I realize I put off writing it for so long because I’m nervous it won’t be good enough. If 2020 taught me anything, it taught me to go for it and to never take time for granted. One of my goals for 2021 is to make sure I quit procrastinating because I may miss out on great opportunities. What I’ve learned about myself throughout this entire process amounts to one thing: I am capable of anything.
I hope I get accepted into the program. I mean, my life kinda depends on it. Trying to find a job during a pandemic isn’t easy. Many companies laid off employees or expressed that they don’t have any desire to hire until after the pandemic is over. So, I figured I would further my education, even though graduate school will look a lot different in terms of making new friends. It’s a new beginning, it’s like your freshman year all over again (except you’re a little older and a lot more mature).
I decided to take a chance and only apply to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the school I currently attend.
If I don’t get accepted, I don’t know what my plan will be from there. My boyfriend and some friends will still be here; and, to tell you the truth, I’m not ready to leave undergrad yet. This past year, I realized that being robbed of my last year of college solidified that I’m not ready to put this place in the rear view mirror just yet. The adult world is scary especially now, and there’s a lot of uncertainty…which is not how I want to find my first adult job.
This year brought about a ton of learning experiences that I’m extremely thankful for. The pandemic taught me that things I thought would always be there, aren’t. That’s mainly why I decided to apply for graduate school. The “would’ve” and “should’ve” feeling isn’t pleasant. 2020 showed me that if you want to do something you need to— to just do it. Life can change in a blink of an eye. Make sure to reach for your goals everyday.
(I recently found out on Friday, January 19th that I was officially accepted into the Public Affairs program!)