By: Carlyn LaGrone, Class of 2018
Being a part-time grad school student is a full-time commitment. Sacrificing Saturday’s in order to be a part of this program has undoubtedly been one of the toughest parts of being an MSHC student. This being said, it has fostered a strong sense of community amongst students that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. This community is different from the one I had during undergrad for many reasons. From proximity of where we all lived on campus or more free time due to a lowered level of responsibility during undergrad made it inevitable that a sense of community would be formed. Life is very different as a full-time worker and part-time grad student as free time is far and in between. The community created via this program required a different level of effort as we all lead very different lives. There are mothers and fathers, new college graduates, and even folks in the middle of these life stages all together pursuing their Master of Science in Health Communication. In order to connect with the others around us here, it required exerting ourselves despite all of the other things on our plates – which I can wholeheartedly say has been so worth it.
This has been an incredible aspect of this journey because it has introduced me to some truly driven, inspirational, and caring individuals that I may have not otherwise met if it weren’t for us all doing this program. Having my MSHC friends by my side during this, has made all the difference in being able to push through. I am so grateful for these individuals because this experience has been one full of ups and downs in terms of stress, life changes, and varying responsibilities. Since these individuals are going through the exact same thing, it’s so helpful having them in my support system in times of need. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, best study buddies, and also are becoming some really close friends.
Our bond continues to grow as each of the quarters continue. Within the cohort, we are always willing to be an open ear or even a helpful hand professionally as well. People in our cohort have networks all over the Chicagoland area which is something I feel so lucky to have access to through MSHC. Whether it’s giving information about an organization or making an introduction to someone at an organization someone is interested in, the sky is the limit for networking. Networking is such a critical gain in being a part of this group but for me it hasn’t been the most important. The part that has really impacted my life the most are the new friends this has introduced to me. I enjoy spending quality time with these people and getting to know them outside of the classroom because we’ve really connected. Post grad friendships truly are lifelong friendships and I have no doubt I’ll continue to stay in touch with these people even after we walk across the stage in August.