Confessions of an M.S. Com. Student: Jeannine Lane’s Top Five Takeaways

I’m Jeannine! After earning my B.A. in Communication Studies from Grand Valley in December 2018, I decided I wasn’t done learning and enrolled in GV’s M.S. Com. program, which I started in January 2019. I’m the Graduate Director of the Speech Lab, where I’ve found mentorship, opportunity, confidence, and a sense of passion that some people spend their entire lives searching for. In addition to my borderline unhealthy obsession with my job, I’m also the Vice President of the Graduate Communication Association here at Grand Valley! I’m graduating from the M.S. Com. program in December 2020, a date that is coming up far too quickly for my liking. Here are some of the most important things I’ve learned during my time in the program:

  1. Graduate school can be for everyone. I spent a long time believing that I wasn’t good enough for grad school. Once I started, though, I realized my program was a perfect fit for me and I’ve actually done much better than I did in undergrad! Don’t let fear and insecurity hold you back from getting what you want.
  2. If you love what you’re learning, it won’t feel like work. It’s no secret that graduate school is a lot of work, but my time in the program has flown by because I genuinely love my classes. Sharing classes with peers who love communication studies as much as I do has been a really empowering experience for me.
  3. Take advantage of your resources. As an undergraduate, I was usually too nervous to visit my professor’s office hours. Now, though, I know that faculty members are a wealth of knowledge, support, and experience. I make a conscious effort to build relationships with my professors and appreciate knowing that we trust and respect one another. 
  4. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. The first time I was assigned a writing response on a reading that may as well have been written in a foreign language, I was certain that I was doomed. It’s really not fun––and even a little scary––to feel like you’re in over your head. While anyone can throw their hands up and decide they aren’t smart enough, it takes grit to decide that you’ll read that article again and again until it makes sense (even if you have to Google every other word). 
  5. Take time to be proud of yourself. Grad school can be a whirlwind of homework, coffee, and (hopefully minimal) mental breakdowns. It’s so, so important that you take time to pat yourself on the back. Having a master’s degree is a special thing that no one can take away from you, and you deserve to celebrate your successes.