After completing my masters in MLIS I found myself constantly ruminating about going back to Information School. I simply felt like I haven’t had enough. After leaving the academic field behind, I felt there’s little use in furthering my studies with a PhD– at least not for the time being.
I changed career paths and delved into corporate business. Earlier this year, I went back to graduate school to study MBA with the resolve to focus my research on publishing. Two years shy of hitting 40, I felt it was either now or never. Publishing has always been a topic that I wanted to learn more about. I also took a lot of business classes during my graduate studies, so MBA felt like a fine decision at the time.
My first and second semesters were exciting in many ways. I met a lot of people and learned a great deal but I also found myself hitting a lot of roadblocks. A lot of energy and effort were put into learning ‘institutionalized business’, something that I wasn’t particularly interested in which made me feel like I was drifting away from my initial plan. Although I deliberately focused all my assignments on information and data topics, I still felt alienated compared to everyone else with me in class with accounting, banking and finance backgrounds. I was more excited about doing research than I was about learning formulas and equations. After weeks of struggle, I finally made the difficult decision to drop out and I felt miserable. Deciding to go back to graduate school kind of gave me a sense of purpose and I’m ashamed to say a false sense of security. Dropping out made me feel like a failure and unlike my 20s, facing failure at this point hits hard.
One day I was browsing online when I stumbled on a flyer about a publishing program. I clicked on the link and it took me to a university website offering a masters program in publishing. After doing a little research I found out that several universities are offering the same outline. The programs are divided into three parts: Theoretical courses on publishing principles, technology/information systems, and publishing business, sales and marketing. In fact, some programs extend the scope to cover publishing illustration and design, comics and magazine editing. It was exactly what I was looking for.
I booked an appointment with an educational advisor, took my TOEFL exam, and worked on my application. I applied to a second university as backup and eventually got accepted into both with a merit scholarship. I chose one of the universities, paid my tuition and here I am waiting for my first semester.
The university that I chose has the option of offering the program fully online which I’m planning to take as I’m employed full-time. Is it a wise decision to pay full tuition for an online education? Probably not, but the institution is accredited with a formidable list of educators that I find hard to miss. I also have a feeling that in a few years online education will become a thing. I’ve been taking self-development online courses for over a decade now and it’s interesting to see the mechanics grow and develop for the better. I have no doubt it will get even better.
So far all the services the university offers to me as an online student are similar to being on campus including booking an appointment with a registration advisor, using library resources, requesting research assistance and using interlibrary loan among many others.
It’s definitely going to be lonelier than attending real classes but it’s exciting to try.