The graduate school enhances the opportunity for an individual to achieve his or her personal and professional goals. The skills and knowledge acquired from graduate school are instrumental in career development; hence, one should follow closely the lessons learned in the quest for a master’s degree. However, graduate school is never free of challenges. There are many challenges associated with the pursuit of a master’s degree, and they start at the school application process. The challenges that one faces in graduate school may be intellectual or emotional. This paper focuses on some of the challenges associated with going to graduate school, and how I plan to overcome them as I pursue success in graduate school.
Personal and professional goals
My personal goal is to become a public health nurse. My short-term goal is to graduate with a 1st class honors distinction. It has consistently been my goal to excel in everything I do, and I am committed to demonstrating the will to succeed with the highest distinction. This will enable me to land a good position in my profession, and it will be a good background to develop a successful career. After becoming a registered nurse, my long-term goal is to develop a career in public health that will lead to my becoming a nurse educator. I wish to draw attention to helping people in the community to understand the underlying issues in their poor state of wellness in the future. I also aspire to be instrumental in developing nursing guidelines that will facilitate more effective delivery of care services on the part of registered nurses.
Reasons for pursuing graduate studies
The first reason for pursuing graduate studies is to facilitate a smooth entry into the labor market. It is apparent that employment opportunities in the health care sector are quite low, which translates to stiff competition for positions. With a master’s degree, one has a higher chance of landing a good career opportunity (Strauss & Leuze, 2013). Second, graduate studies also provide individuals with a chance to enhance their skills and knowledge in specific areas of nursing, and this is quite instrumental in enhancing competence levels and providing insight on the specific areas that one targets to pursue in his or her career. Lastly, graduate studies are quite important if I am to attain my long-term goal of becoming a nurse educator within the public health sector (Sheikh, 2014). Graduate studies will equip me with research skills that will come in handy in my career.
One of the challenges faced in graduate studies is the stiff competition among students. Graduate school is normally filled with students with high intellectual abilities, and one has to struggle to get to the top of the class. Students have to sacrifice a lot of their personal time to conduct research work and to review the content from class to excel in exams. Second, the cost of graduate studies has been increasing exponentially, and most students cannot afford it. Most students struggle with financing their graduate education. Lastly, graduate studies are associated with a lot of emotional stress. This stress emanates from different sources, including doubts on whether one chose the right academic discipline to study, depression due to financial constraints, and fatigue from research work and the associated time constraints (Kramer, 2007).
Strategies to overcome the challenges
Overcoming the challenge of stiff competition in class will require me to work extremely hard on my assignments and exams. I will have to be a regular face in the library to emerge at the top of my class. Financial challenges will have to be met through the acquisition of a job, which will take my time after class (Kramer, 2007). I will have to strike a balance between work and school to ensure the two activities are sustainable. My strategy for stress management is engaging in exercise and yoga. It will help me relax from both physical and emotional stress.
Success in my career will be defined by the attainment of three major milestones. The first milestone is to attain the highest distinction in my master’s degree. The second milestone will be attaining a nursing role in the public health sector. The last milestone will be the attainment of the status of a nurse educator. I will work hard in my graduate education to attain the highest distinction, which will open an opportunity for me to join one of the leading public health care facilities as a public health nurse. I will work hard to identify community needs in terms of health care services and influenced the authorities to enhance wellness for the people. I will also strive to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills to become a nurse educator later in my career.
Analysis of strengths and weaknesses
I am aware that one of my strengths is the ability to assume a leadership role effectively. I have worked as a team leader in different settings, and I always receive commendations from the team members for being a good leader. I use a hands-on approach to deal with tasks; hence, I am likely to influence the people around me to portray their highest competencies. One of my weaknesses is that sometimes I assume that people are aware of what is expected of them. My communication skills need to be sharpened so that I can be a more effective leader.
Improving my communication skills will require me to forge closer interpersonal relationships with team members and the people around me. I will need to be mindful of the weaknesses that other people have, especially when matters of message delivery are concerned. The second strategy will be treating everyone equally. I will make sure that I communicate on equal grounds to ensure that everyone gets the relevant message. The third strategy will be the development of the culture of emphasis whenever I am delivering important messages. Instead of assuming that people understand the message, I will always look to repeat the major points for effective communication.
Graduate studies are associated with tough times because of the numerous struggles that students face. One of the challenges that are common among many students is financial constraints. Most students have to find jobs while studying to sustain their daily needs, as well as the expensive tuition fee. I expect to face this challenge, alongside other challenges like emotional stress. I am ready to face the tough times by getting a job and ensuring I always spare some time to exercise to control stress. I will study hard to attain my short-term goal of graduating with the highest distinction before I embark on a career in the public health sector, which will hopefully lead to my attainment of a position as a nurse educator.
Kramer, L. W. (2007). A personal reflection: graduate study challenges and strategies for success. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 26(4), 158-159.
Sheikh, K. R. (2014). Expanding Clinical Models of Nurse Practitioner Education: Service Learning as a Curricular Strategy. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 10(5), 352-355.
Strauss, S., & Leuze, K. (2013). Further Education of Higher Education Graduates—the More, the Better?. European Journal of Education, 48(3), 436-453.