Transition From Undergraduate to Graduate
by Kelsey Buckner
Junior, Public Relations Major from Rowlett, TX.
After completing her undergraduate degree in public relations, Lindsey Viotto decided to further her education and attempt to stand out from the crowd by attending the College of Media & Communication Master of Arts 30-hour professional program.
From Stephenville, Texas, Viotto came to Texas Tech University seeking a quality education like many of her classmates. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in public relations, she made the decision to do the 30-hour graduate program because she felt it would be little adjustment to continue her education.
“I thought it would be an easy transition,” Viotto said, “to go from being an undergrad here. I already knew a lot of the professors and had connections.”
Unlike the 30-hour program offered at the College, many other mass communications graduate programs Viotto researched did not offer a program to complete her master’s in one year--most of them offered two-years programs.
“I know when I was applying for grad school,” Viotto said, “many of the other ones at other schools would probably take me two years. I really think in some of these two-year programs it is not as easy to finish because you are getting older. There is more opportunity for you to not complete it; whereas in one year, I really think you can do anything for one year.”
In addition to still enjoying the college lifestyle, the previous undergraduate thought getting her master’s would make her more appealing on the job market and give her the experience she needed.
“I was not ready to graduate,” Viotto said, “and I still felt like I could learn more to make me more marketable.”
She immediately began the 30-hour program on the professional track after graduation. Viotto felt it was the best decision because she was still focused from the previous semester.
“I was just already so focused in school,” she said, “and I was used to staying up late and studying, and just had a rhythm going. Having that focus and that drive; it really kind of motivates you to get through it.”
While in the program, Viotto has built stronger relationships with her professors. She said as an undergraduate she was anxious around them, but now she understands they really want to help students reach success.
“I think I have really developed a better relationship with my professors,” Viotto said. “I know as an undergrad you are a little nervous to go up to them, but when you do, you find out that they are not scary and are really easy to talk to and are willing to help. I think as a graduate student, you get closer to them and realize they are just there to help you.”
Among the professors Viotto has grown to know, she said one in particular has made an impact in her education experience - Autumn Shafer, Ph.D.
“Dr. Shafer has always been willing to help me out in making connections, writing recommendation letters, and encouraging me through my classes,” Viotto said.
Adding to the support she has received through faculty members, Viotto expressed how the graduate program will benefit her future.
“I would say that on the professional track,” Viotto said, “my goal was to just learn things that would make me transition easier into the job market. I wanted to have one last opportunity to get a really good internship, and I think that is coming up for me next semester.”
Completing her master's degree in August 2013, Viotto said the impact of the program has been a reflection of her personality and dedication to her education, which has ultimately paid dividends.
“I am prepared, I am older,” Viotto said, “and I think I have developed better relationships with people that are willing to push me in the right direction. I think being able to put on your resume that you got a master’s degree shows that you are really dedicated to something.”