By earning your degree, you’re making an important investment in your future. We asked five of our recent graduates for their advice on how new and returning students can make the most of that investment and achieve their personal and professional goals.
From navigating a career change to surviving online classes, here are their tried-and-true tips for success.
1. Trust the process
Your classes won’t always be easy, and it can be tricky to find time for school when you’re balancing a full-time job and/or raising a family – but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful.
“My advice for other students is to just stay focused,” says Trisha Warner, who earned her surgical technology degree while raising her three children.
“You will be more confident in everything you do. Every class is there for a reason, even if at the time it seems silly. You will make lifelong friends that will help you along the way. No one can take your degree from you.”
2. Get help when you need it
If you do find yourself struggling in class, know that you don’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re attending on campus or online, make sure that you are taking advantage of all the tools and resources at your disposal.
“Ask for help if you need it. This can be very challenging, but it might be what gets you from one week to the next!” says online MBA graduate Stephanie Dennis.
“Use the resources the school has available, whether it’s finding a tutor or making extra time to meet with your instructor,” she adds.
3. Start preparing for your job search BEFORE you graduate
From perfecting your resume to honing your interview skills, you ought to get a jump start on your future job hunt while you’re still in school.
For technology student Mary Kimani, working with Career Services helped her find new opportunities in the IT field.
“For me, the most challenging part was transitioning into the IT field after being in nursing school for two years,” she said. “I started working on my resume with the help of career services. This helped me start applying for several IT jobs and I received multiple interviews and job offers before graduation.”
4. Make your education work for YOU
Nursing grad Sharese Windley was accustomed to being a great student, but after failing her pharmacology course, she realized that she was going to have to take a different approach to her learning if she wanted to be successful.
“After taking four months off, I re-enrolled and switched to night classes at Herzing,” she said. “Taking classes in the evenings allowed me to study during the day, when my three children were at school. I retook pharmacology and made an A.”
“Failing that class changed my life. It made me reevaluate everything, and I found another route that worked a lot better for me in the long run. You just have to find your own way because the same process or path doesn’t work for everyone.”
5. Don’t get discouraged
When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, remember why you are earning your degree. Know that it’s possible for you to overcome whatever challenges you might be facing to achieve the career and the education you want.
“There may be moments when you want to give up and quit, but it’s the challenging times when we learn the most about ourselves and our abilities,” says business management graduate Virginia C. Cesar Jass.
“If you are struggling, get help. Keep a positive attitude, set attainable goals for yourself and manage your time wisely. Keep your eye on the prize and do everything you can to stay focused and get that degree. You will be so proud of yourself. It is all worth it.”