Wrapping Up this Blog Series
Back in September 2021, I began this blog series as a means of sharing my experiences and lessons learned after returning to college. A few weeks ago, I graduated with a master’s degree in real estate. As such, this will be the final article in this series.
Looking back at my first article in the series, I made the case that grades don’t matter and that experiences and education are more important. This being my second master’s degree, I wanted to focus less on earning As and more on building a network and developing practical job skills. So, did I follow my own advice? Well, yes and no. While, I worried a lot about grades, I did make a point of making time when not in class for networking events and working.
I entered the program feeling overwhelmed and wondering if I would make it through. Many of my classmates probably wouldn’t believe that I considered dropping out at one point early on. The first semester was the hardest because not only was it an adjustment being a student again, but I didn’t have the same educational background as others in the program. But I persisted and it paid off.
I didn’t work that first semester, instead spending all my extra time studying. Then one day about three months in, I realized that I had the ability to not only survive the program, but to thrive in it. It was only then that I started working. Still, I only put in about three hours a week as a Teaching Assistant to help pay part of the tuition costs. I did well in my classes that first semester, and I knew it was because of the extra time I put in, which made it difficult when I later wanted to take on an internship.
I worried that my grades would slip, but I knew that the practical, real-world experience would help. I also wanted to build a professional network and find some people I could use as future job references. I found a short-term internship, which was convenient, because it gave me a chance to try adding more work hours to my day without making a long-term commitment that I wasn’t confident I could keep.
The internship went well and over the summer between my first and second year, I was invited to put in more time working with that company. In my second year, I took on a second job. I still worried and stressed about my grades more than I probably should have, but perhaps that motivated me to work harder and keep going. I enjoyed both my jobs and the classes, and continued to do well in both.
The confidence that I had lost in the years before returning to college finally returned. I had caught up to my classmates and now I dare say, was at the top of the class. I had learned the things that I came into the program wanting to learn, and then some. Although I still have a lot to learn, I now have the foundation that I was previously lacking. As a result, I no longer feel held back by inadequacies.
I’m currently working part-time for an affordable housing developer, which is an area that I’m particularly interested in as it ties into my social work background. My goal is to find a full-time position where like with the company I’m currently at, I’ll have the ability to make a social impact on the community through real estate development.
As far as the articles, I’ve been told for years that I should write a blog. I questioned if I would have enough material to keep one going, but by focusing on my educational journey I was able to come up with plenty of content these last two years. Click here, if you’d like to see the full list of articles.
When I began writing, I only intended on this being a series and not an ongoing and indefinite thing. I think having an end date in mind also helped make this blog series feel more manageable. Anyway, as already mentioned, this is the last article in this series. After taking a break, I may start a new series with a different focus.
I’m also working on a book based upon past work experiences and professional advice that I’ve shared with others who have told me they don’t get anywhere else.
Thank you for those who have followed my journey, whether you’ve read every article faithfully or just one whose title caught your attention. Thank you to my instructors, university staff, my coworkers, family, friends, advisees, and my classmates. I appreciate all of you and the impact you’ve made on my life.