grad school reflection, one year in

Today marks one year since I graduated from Baylor, the end of my first year at Georgetown University, and the start of the summer semester and my second half of my master’s program. The past year has flown by. I thought my senior year went quick, but something about sitting inside all day re-watching Friends really makes time go by quicker! I can’t even begin to find the right words to describe my first year of graduate school, so bear with me as I try.

Leaving Baylor and saying goodbye to the people that have been my family for four years was incredibly tough. I got so used to being surrounded by people 24/7, and having all my best friends within a square mile of one another. If one person didn’t want to go to the library, I could ask someone else. If I didn’t want to get dinner alone, that was okay because I had my group that I could go-to for anything. I had people that I trusted and had fun with, and I had to say goodbye to all of that.

I didn’t really have much time to reflect on the changes that were to come, because after the graduation ceremony, we hit the road and I headed back to Connecticut. A few days after getting back to the Northeast, I started my internship from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The summer went by in the blink of an eye and I was getting back on the road to head down to Washington, D.C.

Pat Neff Hall, Baylor University, Waco, TX

And thus began the year of a lifetime.

To sum up my first year at Georgetown in short, it would be outstanding. I have loved every class I took so far, and felt like I learned so much, but even more than that, I got to apply so much of my knowledge as well. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my experience at Baylor and all my classes and professors there. But, the nice thing about graduate school is that the classes are all solely in my field. I didn’t have to take any math or science classes, all my classes revolve around public relations.

I also really enjoyed the relationships I made with professors. I’m actually still in touch with every professor I had this past fall and spring, which is pretty cool! All of my professors came from a different field of PR, and I felt like I learned a lot from all their various backgrounds and experiences. I got to hear the perspective of healthcare, justice department, military and media workers. And then everything we learned and talked about in class, I got to bring back to the office when I went to my internship.

Being in Washington, D.C. was an amazing experience in and of itself as well. It is with extreme sadness that I say I am actually leaving D.C. this month to move back to Connecticut for a job (that I am very excited about, don’t get me wrong, but leaving D.C. for Connecticut is going to be hard). Over the past year, I’ve really gotten used to the whole city living thing, and I always swore I’d never end up back here…ironic huh.

A year ago I had never taken the subway or the metro, and now I feel like I know the schedule and routes like the back of my hand. I got used to running past the White House every morning, and seeing the Washington Monument tower over the city on a casual drive to work. I got used to walking everywhere, from SoulCycle to the grocery store. There was a new restaurant to try every weekend, and after the past seven months of living there, I still haven’t hit every one that was on my list. For anyone out there reading this, if you ever get the chance to live in D.C., take it in a heartbeat, and don’t take any of that time for granted. Reflecting on my time there, especially now in quarantine, I’m regretting every weekend I spent in my room or every night I decided to stay in. You don’t know a good thing until its gone.

As I begin the summer semester of classes today, online for multiple reasons, I can’t help but be so darn grateful for this school and the opportunities I have. Georgetown is the number one ranked master’s program for public relations, and I know there are so many people that would give anything to be in my shoes, even as I transfer to online. I truly consider myself one of the luckiest people around to have gotten accepted and to have the opportunity to continue to complete my masters even though I won’t physically be on campus for the last year. So many people out there would have had to make the difficult choice between pursing a dream job and finishing out their education, but I have flexibility that allowed me to do both, and I’m really thankful for that. I’m also so excited to continue to apply my knowledge in a real big-girl job now. I loved sitting in class last fall and learning something that I could talk about at my internship the next day, or vice versa by bringing up an internship experience to contribute to class discussions.

This summer, I’m excited to be taking Media Relations and Digital Analytics & Measurement – two classes that I’ve never taken variations of before so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot! Then in the fall I’ll be taking Internal Communications and Crisis Communications, again, two classes unlike anything else I’ve taken. I’m grateful for the opportunity to expand my mind and my knowledge in the public relations field, because before starting at Georgetown all I really knew how to do was write. Now I’m learning strategies and skills that make me a better and more strategic communicator ,with a rhyme and reason to get the outcomes I want in my work.

As I say goodbye to D.C. for a bit, gear up for the second half of my masters and look back on the past year since graduation and starting grad school, I really can’t help but feel grateful. All the jobs I had and people I met in D.C. impacted my life in such a positive way, and I’m sure I’ll be back soon, especially since all my friends are now there! For anyone reading this that is about to begin their master’s or debating getting one, the only piece of advice I have is go for it. Sometimes, the best experiences come from just taking a leap of faith. I never thought I’d get accepted to Georgetown and end up here, but I did, because I took that leap. And be sure to soak up every second of it, because you never know when the next pandemic might come and cut your experience short. Although this was not the spring and summer I was expecting to have, I can’t complain one bit because I’m still a Hoya, and a Bear, through and through.

xx,

meg

Capitol Building shot at night during a nighttime run through the National Mall (by far one of my favorite things to do here)

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