Johnny Travis studied Business Managements and graduated in 2016. He is now in the process of pursuing his graduate degree at the University of Arizona.
Why did you decide to go to graduate school? I wanted to further my education in an area of interest I discovered during my time at UA, Higher Education. I wanted to learn more about how universities work and continue to be a part of a constantly growing and learning community in our society.
What was the preparation and application process like? Stressful. I was applying to a program that didn’t go with my undergrad degree, researching what different schools’ programs were like to find the right fit, and looking into assistantships and what aid was available. Many schools have different applications that ask different questions, and the people who you might call for help are usually hard to get a hold of. The best thing is to talk with people at UA who are in the field, they usually help give you advice on what programs to apply to, write letters of rec, and encourage you when you feel all hope is lost.
What has been the most challenging part of your experience? The most rewarding? The most challenging part of grad school so far is balancing my time and trying to get all the readings done. You think undergrad professors assigned a lot of reading, wait until you’re in an academic focuses graduate program, it’s a lot. You have less classes, but you will most likely have a half-time job or assistantship that you’ll probably work more than half-time. Then there’s also meeting new people and finding time to work out, stay in touch with family, study, and build new relationships, all while also learning how grad school differs from undergrad. It’s a balancing act that takes a couple weeks to get the hang of.
The most rewarding part is the part that also adds the most stress, my assistantship. I am a Graduate Community Director at UA and it allows me to do what I love an interact with students and help them develop. It helps me grow professional and learn skills and put my new knowledge into practice in the field I plan to work in when I graduate. It also helps to create a separate community separate from school with people who I can vent with and will support me and understand the struggles of grad school. It’s time consuming, but rewarding.
What do you hope to do after you complete the program? I plan on working for a university in some capacity. I am looking at more administrative roles, possibly in an area such as the Dean of Student’s office, but am still exploring. I plan on using my two years in my masters program to explore the field of higher education more to find out where, specifically, I’d like to work. I know the main thing I want is to work at a college where there is always change and progression and a unique community of new thinkers.
What advice do you have for students looking to pursue the same advanced degree? Just breathe, go with your gut, and apply to where you think will be the best for you. Look for an assistantship, or other ways to support yourself financially without taking out loans, or minimizing how much you need to take out. If the school wants you, they will have funds to bring you there, and it’s alright to ask for it. Especially in the case assistantships you are doing a lot of work for your institution for relatively little pay, so ask for what you think is reasonable, and they might be able to give it to you. Also realize that grad school is different than undergrad, and especially if you’re working a job or an assistantship, it takes awhile to get into the swing of things, and that’s okay. Just breathe, you’ll be okay!