Going back to school is terrifying...

Jill McEvoy

Empire State College
Graduate Enrollment and Retention Specialist

From an admissions professional’s perspective I am terrified.

After 18 years, I am going back to school for my master’s degree. You would think that after working day in and day out with prospective graduate students I would be comfortable with the idea.

I am not.

Each day I in the office, I am more than happy to connect with and encourage those students, especially the adult learners that our programs, who, like me are going back to school after a long absence. They are working full-time, raising families, coaching soccer teams and dealing with the numerous obligations that adulthood brings with it. How will I manage, they ask me. I always tell them that we are there to help them and it can be done. Now it’s my turn….who is going to help me?

I came late in my professional life to the admissions profession. Once I began my career in higher education I realized this is where I wanted to be.

OK. Now what?

Schools did not offer online programs when I was an undergraduate at SUNY Plattsburgh. I got a deluxe Brother typewriter and hardcover copies of the Webster New College Dictionary and Thesaurus when I graduated from high school and off I went. The internet did not exist. The computer lab was full of word processors and mom and dad supplied me with a box of floppy discs to save all of my papers on. The library was always full and there was a long wait to use the microfiche machine which inevitably broke down. I had to stand in line for hours to register for my classes and going to the bookstore was an all day marathon. Now, my entire masters program is offered online. It took me about a minute to register and 10 minutes to order my books. This is a whole new and unfamiliar world for me and I am beginning to have a better understanding of where my prospects are coming from.

Classes begin in a few weeks. I have registered, sent in my tuition waiver, “spoke” with my advisor (email communication only and “really not necessary until at least your second term”), ordered my books, bought a laptop and tracked down my immunization records (what a pain!). I have instructed my husband and 2 small children that I will need to have “quiet time” once school starts so I can do my homework. My daughter made me my very own pencil box. I guess I am good to go… right?

Stay tuned to find out how my first semester went in the next edition of Endeavors.