Texas State Graduate Student Panel Gives Advice to Aspiring Bobcats

After graduation, what comes next can be a daunting question we might find ourselves facing.

Some students go directly into the workforce after graduation, some take some time off to decompress from their college life and then there are the true maniacs: the ones who decided that earning their bachelor’s degree was merely the first round.

Wednesday evening in room 234 of Old Main at the head of the class sat six such examples of these fabled lovers of education, tasked with the objective of convincing undergrads their plight was a worthwhile one. With revered Dr. Sandhya Rao filling the moderator’s position, the presentation began.

The first few minutes were filled with brief introductions of the panel members. Third semester strategic communications major AJ Arreguin, first semester digital media major Melanie Morales, third semester global media major Rebecca Silvas, second semester strategic communications major Sarah Abass, first semester digital media major Candice Brusuelas and strategic communications major Charlotte Singleton rounded out the panel of grad students.

[Left to Right: Sandhya Rao, AJ Arreguin, Melanie Morales, Rebecca Silvas, Sarah Abass, Candice Brusuelas and Charlotte Singleton]
[Left to Right: Sandhya Rao, AJ Arreguin, Melanie Morales, Rebecca Silvas, Sarah Abass, Candice Brusuelas and Charlotte Singleton]

After introductions were complete, the panel was asked to talk about why they decided on grad school. Some spoke about how they had gone out into the professional world already and decided they wanted to hone their craft and put more time into developing it. Some spoke about how they simply didn’t feel ready after the undergrad program, and wanted to be even more prepared.

Singleton reminisced about an internship she once had where she was asked to separate applicant resumes by highest degree earned. She said when she saw that businesses go through the applicants with a master’s degree first, she decided she wanted her resume to get sorted into that pile.

Abass concurred, adding, “It’s a competitive world out there and getting a master’s gives you an advantage.”

Next, the panel was asked to describe in what ways the graduate program was different from normal college life.

Arreguin noted that he acquired knowledge at a much faster rate than he had in the past. “I learned more in a semester of graduate classes than I did in a year or two of undergrad,” said Arreguin.

Silvas said she finally found fun in learning again and enjoyed how personal her interactions had grown with old professors turned colleagues.

The group seemed to agree that the graduate program was very rewarding and left taglines hanging in the air for all to see: “write a paper you’re proud of,” and, “push yourself to work harder,” or even simply, “rewarding,” were tossed around a few times.

Singleton did warn against procrastination in grad school though, citing her own struggles as examples. “It’s hard to procrastinate a semester long 30 page research paper,” Singleton said. “It makes you more accountable.”

Morales added, “A C will get you a degree but not necessarily in grad school.”

Lastly, the panel was asked to give some advice to undergrads considering applying to the graduate program, as well as general advice for getting through college.

Popular answers usually involved some sort of reassurance that the process was not as intimidating as it seems. Brusuelas strayed from the pack and offered advice to students seeking employment directly after college. “Know what your interests are and build a portfolio. Keep track of your accomplishments and your work for employers,” said Brusuelas, joking that her portfolio resembled something a fifth grader might make.

Arreguin stressed the importance of regularly getting away from it all to decompress and clear your mind. “Give yourself some time at least once a week to relax and forget about school,” said Arreguin.

Whether you were planning on going to grad school or not, the panel members offered loads of solid advice throughout the presentation. The session was a much more positive experience admittedly than expected, and I am very glad I was able to hear this talented group of individuals speak about their passions.

For more information on Texas State’s graduate program, go to http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/ or schedule an appointment with the SJMC’s graduate advisor, Vanessa Higgins.

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