By Rafael Bruler
Only 30% of the American population 18 years and over have an undergraduate degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This amount drops dramatically for individuals with graduate degrees. “Only 10% of the American population hold a graduate degree, and the decision to pursue one is the first step towards becoming part of this select group”. With these thought-provoking and inspiring words, Salma Ghanem, PhD, Dean of DePaul University’s College of Communication, welcomed new and continuing graduate students last week at the Graduate Programs Welcome Reception.
While students arrived and occupied the event’s lounge area, mingling with faculty and staff members while helping themselves with refreshments, a friendly and inviting environment encouraged students to get acquainted with their instructors, sharing their professional experiences and expectations with their program of choice.
As the path to higher education may seem daunting and overwhelming, building up a solid relationship with instructors can make your journey as an undergraduate or graduate student a whole lot easier, not to mention more exciting. Beyond the academic benefits, an open-door policy connecting faculty and students can also contribute on the professional end. As instructors are currently in touch with a vast list of professionals and corporations in their fields, they can be important allies in expanding your professional network or helping you get that dream internship.
No matter if you’re kicking off, midway through or near the finish line of your undergraduate or graduate program, or if you’re still searching for the perfect one, listed below is some top-of-mind advice from DePaul’s Public Relations and Advertising (PRAD) faculty members that ought to help you explore your program in its full potential:
Jill Stewart: “Have a fantastic attitude about everything.”
Ken Krimstein: “You’re in the best city, best program and the best faculty. Don’t screw it up!”
Jim Motzer: “Graduate school is a three-legged stool: classwork, media and relationships (with faculty and each other).”
Kelly Chu: “Ask questions!”
Michael Devlin: “Start building your personal brand NOW.”
Ron Culp: “Start building your professional network while still in college. Set a goal of at least 500 LinkedIn connections from your college experience.”
Rajul Jain: “Don’t be so serious! Enjoy your student life.”
Yeuseung Kim: “Have fun and put passion into everything you do.”
Carolyn Bronstein: “Start reading trades now. Apply the knowledge acquired during the program to real-world stories.”
College life can be an amazing and fulfilling ride towards your personal and professional growth. So keep calm and join the club.
Rafael Bruler is a Public Relations and Advertising (PRAD) graduate student at DePaul University. He is from Rio Claro, Brazil and holds a Master of Business Communication degree from UNIMEP. Follow him on Twitter: @rafaelbruler