Photography by Idara Ekpo
To be completely honest, after graduating and receiving my undergraduate degree, I had zero intentions of going back to school. At the time, I just knew it wasn’t for me. However, it didn’t take much time to realize that God had other plans for me. Just a few short weeks after completing my degree and moving to San Diego, I applied for graduate school. With having some time off of school, I felt like I could be doing more to reach my career goals, and part of that required me to further my education. Once I was accepted, I began my first semester of graduate school in the Fall of 2016. During the start of my program, I was also in the process of moving to a brand new city. It was stressful to say the least. Thankfully, my masters program was online, so I was able to stay mobile and continue with my education. I thought adjusting to school and a new city would be the most challenging part of my experience, but that was smooth sailing compared to what I encountered entering the second year of my program.
For those that haven’t started a graduate program yet, it’s completely different than an undergraduate program. That was something I already expected going into the program, but once you’re actually in there, it’s totally different, especially if you’re entering a program at a different school from where you received your undergraduate degree. I would say that my undergraduate program helped me to discover what side of the fashion business I was interested in, however that particular program was most beneficial for those who wanted to pursue a career in buying or planning. I wanted to go in a slightly different direction, and focus on the marketing and brand management side of the fashion business, and I’m so glad that I did!
For you to truly be successful within any graduate program, and get the most out of your education, time management is going to be key throughout the process. You’ll also need to find ways to keep yourself motivated and focused on the end goal. There were plenty of times where I wanted to give up and throw the towel in…BUT GOD! I cannot say this enough! If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I definitely wouldn’t have completed my graduate degree. For me, there were MANY sleepless nights, days spent infront of the computer, bouts of frustration, constant prayer, but there were also many moments of satisfaction. I had to sacrifice time with my friends and family to really remain on the right track, and do well. I had to remain devoted! It was hard, but necessary! Those who truly love and care for you, will understand and respect that.
During my second year, I was working a full-time 8-5 job, collaborating with brands for my blog, and still working as a freelance photographer, all while working toward the completion of my degree. Looking back, I still don’t understand how I made it through, with so much on my plate. When graduation day finally came, I couldn’t even believe it. I was FINALLY done with school! Although I wasn’t able to attend my graduation, that moment was still just as special! I had never been so proud of myself, and this major accomplishment! I felt like all of my hard work and years of sacrifices paid off, and I had made it to the finish line!
As I think back on my experience, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I was able to push myself in ways that I hadn’t been able to before. I expanded my knowledge, and learned so much throughout the entire program, all while sharpening my skillset! I’m truly thankful for my graduate school experience, and encourage those who are considering graduate school but still have doubts like I did, to pursue it. Graduate school isn’t for everyone, but if you have even the smallest interest, you’ll be able to make it through. I’m not going to lie, it will be hard and stressful, but there is so much you’ll gain in return.
Hope you enjoyed today’s blog post!