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Student Experience - MA in Professional Communication program at RRU

February 11, 2019
By: 
Heather Burke

My experience in the Master of Arts in Professional Communications program was pretty amazing. Let me try to explain what I mean.

The first residency of the program was really tough. I didn't know anyone, well nobody knew each other, but the professors spent a great deal of time connecting us to each other and ensuring that we didn't have a lot of time to even think about what was happening. Looking back on that process now I realize that we were thrown into a hard working situation together right away. That experience helped us learn how to support each other through what was to come in the following year and a half. If I were to give advice to future students, I'd say, "Use that time to find your tribe, and to work really hard with your tribe and learn a lot about how you work together, and it will serve you in the rest of the program, and certainly into the rest of your life."

I know that in the group that I found, we supported each other through the thesis process. Without those ladies, I don't think I could have completed it all alone. You are quite solitary when you're doing research and writing a thesis.

Now that I am just out of the program, I feel like I can't be who I was before. I've learned to critically examine everything I face in daily life and I ask tough questions that can actually make people uncomfortable sometimes. I think that is a skill of a master's graduate, to get to the heart of matters and not waste time running in circles.

The experience working with my Thesis Supervisor was phenomenal. She was very supportive, but also kept me at arm's length, which was really helpful. This helped me to develop my own thinking and made me confident about what I was writing about, and what I will be ultimately speaking about in the future. I never felt more like myself than when I was writing my thesis. I believe this is because my Thesis Supervisor allowed me that space to think about the motivation behind what I was doing.

In the end, my thesis became a project which was a result of the previous experience I have had and previous degrees, a combination of my ideology and perspective on life. All of this culminated in my thesis and it was an amazing experience to defend my thesis successfully and to be able to talk about it in a cohesive and cogent way. I am very grateful that I went through the program and I know anyone considering the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program would have the most amazing experience.