Alums bring advice for graduate school

Lance Evans, Writer

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Graduate school is a the next step for people who want to continue their education and use their mastery of a specific topic to get the career they want to spend their life doing. Linfield recently had a VOICE event which helped those who are interested in the process.

On Oct. 11, Tasha Lane and Araceli Cruz, both alumni of Linfield, gave a presentation on their experiences in grad school and how it helped to shape their goals and careers. Since the two women were sociology majors at Linfield, the event wanted to give an example of how those with similar interests could continue on and achieve a master’s degree or a doctorate degree. Cruz, who went into Student Affairs and Social Justice, and Tasha, who’s working on becoming a trial and jury consultant, expressed their individual experiences.

The choice to be a grad student is huge. One must analyze which program best suits them, and question if they may want to switch their interests. Certain schools will offer a good combination of classes that cover one’s many interests, so it’s a good idea to research a lot into the best offers.

To be a graduate student is a challenge. Both Lane and Cruz described an arduous preparation process. It was important for them to expand their  knowledge on the inner workings of their respective industries, leading to them reaching out to many outside sources. “I did a lot of informational interviews,” said Cruz.

She and Lane met with many experts to get connections, learned how they can incorporate important trends in their life and improved their understanding of the implications of their work.

“Networks and connections at Linfield help a lot in formulating a future plan,” said Lane, continuing on the fact that every piece you once learned will come back to help in the long run, especially as a graduate student.

Once all the factors are considered and one begins grad school, it is not all that different from the college experience, according to Lane and Cruz. The individual departments are much bigger but are fewer in number, and the work is a bit more strenuous.

They said a student must question if they need graduate school, for only the highest specialized jobs require such levels of commitment. They went on to say that if a student feels as though their college experience was enough of a background on their industry, or if financial pressures turn out to be too great, it’s clear that graduate school isn’t the best choice for these individuals.

Many people, such as Cruz, take a year or more off in between college and grad school to gain more experience in an internship or through volunteer work. The two said that before considering grad school, make sure it’s the best option for you.


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Alums bring advice for graduate school