This past May, I graduated from my Master’s program in Plastics Engineering. Why didn’t I post about it then? I was at my cousin’s wedding instead of walking with my classmates. I wanted to wait until I had the piece of paper in hand before I posted anything on this blog.
Well, turns out, you have to send a couple emails before they will send you your diploma. They didn’t want my diploma to get lost by sending it to some random address. I guess most students are more transient than professionals going back to school part time.
As I said, I finished a Master’s program in plastics engineering part time in 3 years. It was a wild journey to say the least. I finished with two graduate diplomas as well, one in Plastics Part Design, another in Medical Device Design and Development. While I didn’t do a thesis (took several extra classes instead), I did a independent study on Infections Related to CardioVascular Implants. If anyone is interested, I can put that paper up in a future blog post.
I LOVED grad school, considered going back for my PhD before getting pregnant. This may be a shock to some of my undergraduate professors. I loved studying, learning, doing homework, and to a certain degree the stress of deadlines and projects. Of course that last deadline was a little bit difficult to achieve considering how my worst pregnancy symptom was exhaustion.
The first trimester of pregnancy and grad school do not mix well. I don’t recommend it. I was so fortunate that it happened in my last semester of grad school, while I was working on a flexible deliverable independent study.
I even had fun in class sometimes.
Doing grad school as a young professional gave me a different perspective than many of my classmates. I had professional goals in my learning. I knew how to write professional procedures, reports and papers. I had seen applications of what we were learning. I was always thirsty for more.
Grad school changed my perspective a lot. It made me lose some respect for combined 5 year bachelor/masters programs. A lot of the kids in these programs were motivated only by the extra money they would make after graduation. They had no additional knowledge they sought, they had no professional experience to give them a boost in interest. If I’m ever hiring someone who has a 5 year bachelors/masters, I’m probably going to ask them what their motivation in getting a Masters.
Someone having a Master’s degree doesn’t magically make someone smarter. A person only gets out of grad school what they take out of it. Doing the bare minimum doesn’t help with advanced learning at all. Maybe things are different in PhD programs, where one has to deliver a complete research project of their own design, but many Master’s students did not impress me.
I also learned that taking a Masters in a different but related topic than your undergrad is very useful. My undergrad is in Mechanical Engineering. Maybe I had to struggle a little more to catch up to my Plastics undergrad classmates, but I was learning new things in every class, not just going more in depth with them. My Mechanical experience was also valuable when I was able to give more complete presentations of design ideas. I did a project in Plastics Part Design that I thought was a cobbled together mess. When I went to speak to the professor for a recommendation to get in another class, he told me it was the best thought out project of the bunch. I had done mechanical component analysis, thought of cost of different design paths and looked into regulatory requirements. It wasn’t ideal, but he was happy.
The best part of my Masters was that I was mostly able to take classes that fascinated me with professors I admired. Yes, there were some core requirements that I ended up hating and struggling too. But classes like biomaterials, mold design, advanced plastics processing, and my independent study all made up for it. So pick a degree that really peaks your interest if you plan on hitting the books.
Did you ever do or consider grad school? What was your experience?
I’m 32 weeks pregnant, and pregnancy has just not worked for me when it comes to food blogging. My favorite foods lately are cheese, fresh fruits and veggies, hummus and other plain things. Because this blog gained popularity for recipes, I feel like some of my other musings don’t really work for it. So I stopped writing, despite wanting to write.
I plan on changing the blog’s format up a bit. I’m going to divide the blog into at least 4 categories, Food, Fitness, Life, and Motherhood. With much cooler names of course. My daughter’s prenatal nickname among our friends is apparently Avocado, so I may name her section after that. My goal is to allow people to subscribe to categories individually, or to subscribe to everything. I’m hoping that will help me want to continue blogging as I really do enjoy it.
So expect to see some design changes around here. I’ll be sure to post several updates when we switch to having an option to only subscribe to food. I don’t want people to kick me off their reader because they only care about food posts
Also, I already put up a new header. What do you think?