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A Personal Reflection: Graduate Study Challenges and Strategies for Success

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A Personal Reflection: Graduate Study Challenges and Strategies for Success
Returning to graduate school is a major decision in one's professional life. Although there are many benefits to returning to school to earn a graduate degree, it is also very challenging. This article discusses the challenges of graduate school as well as several tips for success. Keywords: Education, Graduate school, Masters' programs

[DIMENS CRIT CARE NURS. 2007;26( 4):158-159]

The decision to pursue graduate studies should not be taken lightly. Decisions should be made after serious consideration of personal and professional goals. One must evaluate the variety of programs offered, whether traditional on campus versus online classroom, cost of continuing education, financial aid availability, employment while in school, time allotment to complete studies, computer program technical skills, and computer/library access, to obtain a master's degree. Graduate programs should help the student acquire 3 core competencies.

Woolcock[ 1] lists these 3 skills as detective (data collection, analysis, and interpretation), translator (reframing given ideas for diverse groups), and diplomat (negotiation, conflict mediation, and deal making). Benefits of a master's degree include intellectual improvement, personal development, acquisition of enhanced verbal/writing skills, advancement in career positions, and networking with peers and colleagues. According to Leung,[ 2] graduates of master's degrees are required to show originality, knowledge application, and awareness of critical issues on a higher level than undergraduates.

The first challenge is understanding which kind of graduate study will prepare and meet basic individual needs.[ 3][ 4] Time constraints are another factor because interaction with professors, current graduate students, and counselors are necessary in making that…...

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