Who woulda thunk? Back to school after 35 years? SL is all about second chances and second acts, but jumping in to late-night papers and burning the midnight oil, wasn't exactly what we had in mind for a "Second Act." But lo and behold, a semester teaching bright young things at a local, heavily endowed, private university and SL gets hooked! University life was energizing. Inspiring. Being on campus brought back memories of the best years of my life. And the fashion on campus wasn't that different from when I left it back in the late 70s! Oh yes, as an adjunct professor you will make about the same as you would flipping burgers, even with 35 years running your own successful business in a field in which you now teach. And yes, the Bachelors Degree is being quickly replaced by a required Master's for anyone from Millennials to Boomers who want to advance in their careers.
Universities need as many letters behind your last name as they can get to justify putting you on staff. It's understandable. After all, you don't want your little Ashley or Preston being taught by someone without "credentials" after shelling out those thousands upon thousands of dollars in tuition each year. Those letters do matter. Perhaps more than ever as the cost of higher education becomes harder for many parents to afford.
Armed with a mere Bachelors--including a double major -- but still just those two letters BS (no pun intended here!), yours truly headed into high-gear research mode to find the best online Master's program in PR around. The caveat, no GRE--graduate school exams. Why? SL gets test anxiety -- smart, yes, but when it comes to tests, the brain goes into freeze-mode. Nothing in, nothing out! Serendipity strikes when Kent State University pops up among the top 5 schools for online Master's programs in Public Relations. What a coincidence that SL's own daddy graduated from this historic school (yes, you might remember Kent State demonstrations of the early '70s).
Once applications were filled out, recommendations received from my industry pals, and an essay that I hadn't written since the first time I applied to college, I was in and rolling by January 2015.
Here's what I've learned after four grad school classes. Online is great if you've got ADD. You can get up and walk around as much as you want. You can study when you want--and you do have to study A LOT! And more important, the world of public relations is not the much maligned field it was when SL opened her PR shop in the '80s. It's a more complex, sophisticated, management-driven and in-demand field than ever before, thanks to the explosion of digital and social media. Good PR people score salaries now in the mid-six figures -- unheard of back in the day!
No way SL plans an encore return to her agency business...that's PR history. She's headed back to campus in 2017, more letters behind her last name, and ready to pass on sage wisdom, real-world experiences, and new theories to the next generation of PR pros. But first, she's got to get back to her homework. She has a paper due this week...and next week, and next...
Wishing you all spex-tacular second acts of your own!