Mastering Public Relations Education: Why I Chose to Pursue Graduate Studies

A month has passed since I earned a Master of Science in Public Relations, and I’m still in awe. As I reflect on my journey through advanced studies, I think about frequently asked questions from educators, peers and professionals, the most popular being, “Why did you choose to pursue graduate school?”

I have presented and heard several answers to this question during my time at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

Many students want to become professors or collegiate administrators while others seek to achieve a lifelong dream. Some students want more time before entering “the real world” or simply don’t know what they want. There is also a significant number of graduate students who either could not find a job after graduation or were not happy in their careers.

Jasmine C. Tate with classmate Hayley Taylor on graduation day.

Jasmine C. Tate with classmate Hayley Taylor on graduation day.

None of the reasons mentioned above applied to me. I began to consider graduate school the semester before my graduation from Southeastern Louisiana University. I had an amazing undergraduate career and wanted to expand on my knowledge and experiences. That was enough for me.

Although I had completed several internships, excelled in my classes and networked with many professionals, I still wanted more. After attending the PRSSA 2014 Regional Conference at Louisiana State University and speaking with USM PRSSA Faculty Adviser Dr. Cindy Blackwell, I knew that graduate school would be my next chapter.

I could not be happier with my decision to earn a master’s degree. I encourage anyone interested in pursuing graduate studies to research institutions and programs and understand how they will help you reach your long-term career goals.

If you love public relations and want more, know that the public relations industry is one that requires lifelong learning to achieve success.

Here are a few pieces of advice for those of you considering graduate school.

  1. Don’t go to graduate school just because you don’t have to pay for it. Most universities offer incentives for furthering your education through graduate assistantship programs, which waive tuition and offer stipends. While it is a major benefit, it should not be your sole reason for choosing to pursue a graduate degree.
  1. Don’t compare your experience or education to others.
  1. You will never have the answer for everything. Don’t stress about entering the profession. Everyone has to start somewhere.
  1. You will never regret furthering your education. The knowledge, skills and experiences provided through advanced studies will undoubtedly enhance your life and career.

Are you considering graduate school? Let’s continue the conversation.

 

Jasmine C. Tate is a Louisiana native and recent graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi. She is the immediate past president of the USM PRSSA Chapter and enjoys documenting her professional journey on her weekly blog Welcome to the Real World. Follow Jasmine @JasmineCTate.

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