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Graduate Study Challenges and Strategies for Success

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Graduate Study Challenges and Strategies for Success

Glorybel Rodriguez


March 18, 2013

Marilyn Ketchum, CANP

Graduate Study Challenges and Strategies for Success

The decision to pursue graduate studies should not be taken lightly. This pursuit brings on many challenges as the average student is not just a student. Many students are juggling a combination of different roles such as student, parent, spouse, and full-time employee. To succeed as a graduate student one has to remember the driving force that led to pursuing graduate studies, set goals, embrace any challenges and incorporate strategies to overcome these challenges. Furthermore, pursuing graduate studies online brings about its own challenges, such as communicating with faculty and fellow students. Implementing strategies to take on these challenges head-on and incorporating them throughout one's educational pursuit will lead one in the direction of success.

Growing up in a family that experienced financial challenges drove me to set and prioritize both personal and professional goals. The common interview question "where do you see yourself in 5 years" constantly lingered in my thoughts.

No matter what road blocks and challenges are thrown my way, family is always my first priority. They are my ultimate driving force. My children inspire me to be a positive role model and showing them that pushing oneself educationally is vital. Not only does it help one to succeed but also is empowering. Thus, aspiring to become a positive role model by inspiring my children to empower and advance themselves educationally is one of my personal reasons/goals for pursuing graduate studies.

Professionally, to attain my MSN is a goal that I have carried for many years. Uncontrollable life events put this goal on hold for a while. Nevertheless, life is unpredictable. Therefore, there is no better time than the present to pursue my MSN.

Furthermore, I enjoy teaching. As a Nurse I am constantly wearing that hat; when I teach my patients and families as well as when I teach my colleagues through the role of Preceptor. Pursuing graduate studies will help open Leadership opportunities such as Nurse Educator.

To achieve both my personal and professional goals, I would need to create both short- term and long-term goals. My short-term goal would be successful completion of the first three courses in my MSN program. My long-term goal would be to become a Nurse educator.

Milestones are steppingstones that will help one measure how far one is from achieving short-term or long-term goals, and they will bring the person one step closer to achieving goals. A milestone for achieving my short-term goal of successfully completing the first three courses in my MSN program is to complete assignments on a weekly basis successfully. A milestone for achieving my long-term goal of becoming a Nurse educator is successfully completing my first year of the MSN program.

Pursuing graduate studies comes with many challenges. Three challenges I will face to meet my goals and strategies to overcome these challenges are listed below.

Time Management

Online graduate study programs have the advantage of offering students the ability of working at their own pace as web access is available 24 hours a day. The reality is that there are still deadlines for assignments that need completion while trying to meet the demands of daily life. Trying to balance my time between a full-time position, a family (husband and two children) and social activities to fulfill is overwhelming in itself. Tack on to that a graduate study student, and there are not enough hours in a day to balance my time between my various responsibilities.

A strategy that I will incorporate to overcome



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