For many students, there is a delay between the acquisition of knowledge and the application of that knowledge in the real world. To learn something in theory is of course useful; however, to be able to put it into practice immediately can provide invaluable feedback. For those of us who are taking classes as well as working in their desired field, we are able to go from the classroom to the office with knowledge in hand and apply it right away. Thus, we are able to discern whether or not we fully understood a given concept and were able to translate that in another setting.
A bit about me
I am currently employed as a Director of Administration for a legal department and working towards my Human Resources and Employment Relations Master’s Degree at Penn State. In the past I have bemoaned the fact that I have had to juggle a full-time job and classes. However, I am now realizing the benefits of doing both at the same time. I am able to learn concepts in school and turn around and apply them immediately. It’s like receiving a coded message and then handed the translation.
It’s not easy
I am not saying that it’s easy, but through education we are given tools – and like any tool, at first, it can feel foreign in your hand. But with practice, you are better able to utilize it. For example, I took a class on Strategic Staffing which covered the entire process of hiring top-quality talent. Not long afterward I was asked to interview a few people for an upcoming position in our department. Ordinarily I would have asked the same ten questions you get when you search for interview questions on the Internet. However, armed with the knowledge of what it takes to find a candidate who will go on to become a valuable asset with staying power, I was able to generate ten questions of my own and was able to turn in assessments I was confident about.
It’s worth it in the end
A graduate degree can enhance any career. One with applied knowledge immediately spent cannot be measured. Of course it is difficult to juggle both at the same time, but I have come to realize that it has proven itself useful and I am only halfway through the program. I now approach my classes with more enthusiasm and projects at work as if they were assigned by my professor. It has actually enhanced the entire journey.
About the author: Anna Marie Magro is a 46-year-old part-time graduate student at Penn State online. She is studying for a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Employee Relation. Anna Marie is married with 3 children, all boys, ages 5, 9, and 11.