Throughout your college career and even after graduating, one question will always remain: should you go to graduate school? It’s a huge decision, and it’s definitely not an easy one. However, I asked Margaret Mary Hicks, a 2019 Ohio University graduate and current postgraduate marketing student at Trinity College Dublin. Here’s some insight on how and why Margaret Mary made the decision to attend graduate school:
Q: When did you begin thinking about graduate school?
A: I first thought about graduate school when I went on a spring break trip to Ireland through Ohio University’s Office of Global Opportunities during my junior year. It had been awhile since I visited Ireland and I forgot how much I truly loved it and wanted to live here long term. Graduate school was not something I really thought about or had intentions of doing, but it just felt kind of like the most natural step in transitioning here. For me, it was the best way to live in a foreign country with training wheels and a set deadline to make the decision of whether or not I want to stay here after the program (spring break) ended.
Q: What made you choose to go to graduate school at Trinity College Dublin?
A: I had always wanted to go to school in Ireland and live here one day, so it came pretty natural as the next step when I had been accepted. After doing my due diligence and making sure I was prepared enough to actually do this, it came pretty easily as the next step in my life. I am so glad I got the opportunity as it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far. Graduate school had so much to offer beyond the classroom and I learned so much about not only my new country, but myself and my independence.
Q: How is graduate school different from undergraduate school?
A: The main difference is that it is more focused on group work during the courses. While every course had individual assignments, I found it stressed the importance of group work more which prepared me well for my career. I also found that it was different because each person in my cohort (and there were 70 of us) had brought such diverse perspectives and past learning experiences to the program. More specifically, Trinity College prides itself on diversity and there were so many different cultures represented in my program. I really appreciated being exposed to these perspectives and cultures and it gave me leverage for my future career abroad.
Q: What have you learned about yourself from going to graduate school?
A: The main thing I have learned from graduate school is that I am completely capable of doing anything that I dream of. While it was so challenging moving to a new country and navigating this new landscape – socially, culturally and geographically – it feels incredible that I was able to do it. It is truly the most rewarding experience of my life so far and I feel without a doubt this is where I was meant to be.
Q: Advice for those who are interested in attending graduate school?
A: Do your research! It requires a lot of thinking about what you want and how graduate school can fit into that. Personally it was a vital step in getting where I wanted to be, so be sure it feels right. If you are going to graduate school and you don’t have any reason why or are just doing it because you don’t know what else to do next, maybe wait on making that decision. Most of all, I think you have to be confident in your decision to attend grad school and be true to yourself and what you want. Be prepared to do your research and don’t be intimidated by how serious it seems. You can do anything you put your mind to!
Don’t worry, if you’re still unsure and the question still remains, there is always more time. Decisions, no matter how big or small, require time, thinking and a lot of bravery. Aside from everything Margaret Mary voiced, be sure to remember her advice that “…if something you want to do scares you, that is all the more reason to do it because you are challenging yourself in a new way and learning more about yourself and how you make your dream come true.”
Alyssa Gormley is a junior majoring in journalism and the Executive Vice President for Scripps PRSSA. Find her on Twitter: @gormleyalyssa_