Monday, November 16, 2009

Comm Club's Graduate School Panel

Last Wednesday, November 11, Comm Club hosted a panel at Kimmel featuring graduate students in NYU's Media, Culture, and Communication department.

The panelists:

  • Yue Li
  • Caitlin Jean Hamilton
  • Elisa Verna
  • Isabel Restrepo
  • Jan Gasparic

For anyone who might be interested in pursuing graduate study, here are some of the most helpful tips we learned from the panelists at this event:

  • When asked what pushed them to go to graduate school, many said they enjoyed school and "missed thinking." Others said they knew graduate school would be helpful in a job search. The panelists stressed that the degrees they were perusing at NYU were theory based, not practical. Therefore, their degrees will be helpful for more academic careers. If you're interested in a more corporate job such as public relations or advertising you might find internships more useful than graduate school.
  • Juggling a job and school might be hard for some, but most of our panelists said that having a job actually helped them with time management. They found the strict schedule that a job provides helpful in organizing their lives and school work. They did say, however, that it may be a good idea to wait until you settle in to graduate school before getting a job.
  • Some of our panelists came from smaller undergraduate schools in rural and suburban areas. We were curious whether moving to New York City for graduate school was hard for them. Many said that they found living in the big city quite a shock. New York may have a lot to offer but, as a graduate student, you may not find enough time to experience it all. Make sure to keep in mind the town, city, and country you in which attend school play a huge role in your graduate experience. Remember, there won’t be any freshman organizations or peer advisors to usher you through this time around.
  • It might be a good idea to take a year off after graduating before going to graduate school. There is nothing worse than being stuck in school again if you didn't like it much in the first place. You also might find something out there in the real world that interests you--something you never saw in the confines of the university. You might even find that having a real job isn't as bad as you thought. You could find you like it. Not all 9-5's are the 9-5 you had summer of sophomore year. You might consider traveling, working a little, living a little, getting a little money, and expanding your horizons. It might make you a better grad student!
  • If you decide you do want to go to graduate school, make sure you're studying something that interests you. Don't get a degree because you think it's the natural progression of things. There is a lot of work involved in grad school so don't read more Marshall McLuhan for another two years unless you can really commit to it. And when we say a lot of work we mean A LOT OF WORK.
  • Don't focus on rank. It's more important to make sure you enjoy your program than to be in the top 10. Not all masters programs in communications are the same, so study them carefully.

If you’re interested in learning more about graduate school and have any questions, contact us at

Written Lynn Burke

Edited by Sara Saldi


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