Updated: Sep 1, 2018
My first day at the University Of Maryland Eastern Shore, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was extremely anxious about making friends and where I would fit in. My first day of graduate school I was anxious because I was worried about balancing my skyrocketing media career, mentoring my interns, and attending classes. Being seasoned in both undergraduate and graduate courses, I write this blog to elaborate with my perspective on the different mindsets you have in both schools. I aspire to inspire and to educate anybody who is reading this.
My Undergrad years (Discovery)
My undergraduate years the biggest focuses I had was finding out what I wanted to do, who did I fit in with, who do I network with for career opportunities, and did I want to pursue higher education after. Originally, the first question I had was why was I here? My first year was spent answering this question with talking to different people and "shedding my shell." While certain circumstances led me to almost flunk out, at least I got the answer to my question. I wanted to be a media correspondent. My sophomore year I spent joining organizations to boost my grades and to make career goals easier to obtain by making lifetime connections in each organization. By the end of my sophomore year, I was probably the only person on my campus who was a tour guide, gym rat, model, radio host, journalist, marketer, and event organizer. I was a literal unicorn, and it help me learn how to befriend anybody.
Now my junior year, I came in a little cocky. Reasonable considering I just locked in an internship with USA Today and I published articles in the newspaper at the ripe age of 20. I was also seen as a campus leader, freshmen mentor, and somebody who generally attracted people. I was humbled pretty quickly that year, I got kicked out of three organizations because of having a "diva ego." After that I realized had to humble myself, and I had to learn how to balance out a busy schedule. I also wanted to invest into my future. I started to contact my friend and current business partner Breonte Hackly on the concept of a news brand in DC, Maryland, and Virginia region which showcases professionalism and being able to relate to anybody as well. The concept of TheDMVDaily was born. I will elaborate on that more during my graduate school dissertation.
My senior year, I came in calm, cool, and collected on the exterior but internally I was conflicted. The question of "what was life after?;" really left me terrified. Everybody on campus knew me as somebody with a bright future but that left me scared. I lost somebody close to me that year as well so I was really damaged internally where sometimes it showed externally. That year prepared me for post graduate stress due to my circumstances. All the fear I had, I used as motivation to endure anything in my way for establishing myself independently in media. I had an offer for a editor from the USA Today branch in the DELMARVA area but I turned it down. I was ready to trust the skills I learned undergrad to perpetuate the grind I go through currently. The mindset I would recommend to anybody undergraduate level is to enjoy the moment but always think three steps ahead. I graduated December 2016 and closed the door on many good memories of undergrad. I love undergrad but I was ready to elevate.
Graduate School (Enhancement)
First things first, disclaimer; ONLY take graduate school if you need to perpetuate the skills you have to another level, you like learning, or if you can afford it. It's expensive and grueling on the mind. Trust me, being a full time CEO of TheDMVDaily and HipHopOnTheWire who watches over a staff of 50 plus along with a full course work semester makes me age a little bit. However, I love learning and I know the skills in my program are going to boost my leadership skills so much more! Plus I use what I learn in class to teach my 34 interns, (Help me, they drive me crazy even though I love them) and they motivate me to keep going.
The skills I've obtained and the activities I got into during undergrad gets enhanced during my graduate school venture. Undergrad you discover who you are and graduate school is meant to elevate yourself to compete with anybody intellectually. Undergrad I had a 2.93 at the end and now being hallway done I have a 3.94 at Bowie State University. The key difference between the two types of schooling shows right there: Undergraduate you're finding where you fit in and graduate you are perfecting the fields you fit into. Undergraduate you're much more likely to find the networking skills you need while graduate school you're presented with the main connections you need to succeed. The motivations for each schooling is different usually. Undergraduate, you usually have more self motivations while graduate school; to pursue it you usually have more motivations from outside sources. My example is undergrad I was more selfish while graduate I draw everything from leading my company. My final advice is make sure that if you decide to pursue graduate school, do it because you love the content you will learn!
"Undergraduate adventures make you find yourself while graduate school makes you better yourself." - My uncle Darrius Johnson