Life After Graduation 1

What’s Next?

Life After Graduation: Graduate Studies

Life After Graduation 1After graduating from Monmouth University in the spring of 2017, English undergraduate student, Lauren Niesz, decided she loved Monmouth so much she needed to come back. Now a computer science graduate student, Niesz wanted to continue the work she had been doing in the past, and incorporate it into her new life at Monmouth.

Post-graduate life can be a gray area at times, and continuing education in graduate school can seem even more confusing for undergraduates. Some might wonder if graduate school is any different from undergraduate. Niesz originally believed it would be similar, but has found things to be completely different.

“There are a lot of adjustments that must be made in order to aim to be a successful graduate student. For one, the norm for credits is 9 credits, which is definitely a change from the usual 15 credits that I am used to taking. However, what this lighter class load accounts for is the more rigorous materials I will be learning and the extra work I will be completing,” Niesz explained.

What can complicate things even further is changing the course of study. Graduate school allows students to choose a realm of study completely different from the one they pursued as an undergraduate. Niesz said, “I was an undergraduate English major and now I am in the Information Systems program in the Computer Science & Software Engineering Department. This is a change not only of study, but of the school of study as well. Humanities to sciences is a huge leap and I was very hesitant at first to take it.”

Life After Graduation 2Even walking around campus has changed for Niesz since becoming a graduate student. “When I was an undergraduate student, it was like I was just looking forward to my next meal or meeting up with friends. I was just ‘getting the A,’ as opposed to really immersing myself into something that I am completely unfamiliar with.”

Niesz’ past involvement as an undergraduate has translated into her new education. “Although I am a graduate student, I still want to stay involved in the countless things I was involved in as an undergraduate as well,” she said.

“I am still a Peer Learning Assistant for Professor Matthew Harmon, Specialist Professor of the Communications Department for his First Year Seminar. I am also still trying to be involved with the lovely student-run newspaper that was such a huge part of my undergraduate existence, The Outlook.” Niesz was also still able to keep her job as a lab assistant for the Information Technology courses.

“While I am still able to do these things, it truly is very surreal being, in a sense, removed from undergraduate life and to do these things as a graduate. It is certainly a loaded label that I now wear,” she admitted.

Becoming a graduate assistant was a simple process for Niesz. “I was offered three graduate assistantships at MU through their new Hawk Find portal. The new portal made the process easy to apply.”

One of these assistant-ships was offered by Chair of Computer Science & Software Engineering, Specialist Professor Jamie Kretsch. “My job with Professor Kretsch is to handle all of the department’s social media. They have a blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page that need to be updated frequently and managed appropriately,” Niesz continued.

But what Niesz stressed the most about the similarity between both undergraduate and graduate is that it is a lot of work. “If you immerse yourself in what you are studying, the work is going to be difficult regardless of what academic level you are studying at. Putting 100% into anything is exhausting and, at times, frustrating,” she said.

As difficult as Niesz’ new life at Monmouth is, she is still happy to be here. “It is my favorite place, and continuing my education, even if it’s difficult, is a great experience that I am lucky to be able to have.

PHOTO TAKEN By Alexandria Afanador

PHOTO COURTESY of Lauren Niesz