Graduate school is a concern for most undergrads in today’s economy. More and more students are choosing to get their master’s instead of heading into the working world after obtaining their bachelor’s degree.
Although this blog focuses on transitioning into the professional world after college, the transition to graduate school can also be important to focus on since more students are applying and schools are becoming more selective in their student body.
I decided to interview Jonathan Gordon, who recently got his bachelor’s degree from Franklin Pierce University and has now moved onto the Franklin Pierce University’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies in Concord, NH.
Sheila: Jon, why did you decide to come to Franklin Pierce, and what were your first impressions?
Jonathan: I was first going to go to [the University of the Arts] in Philadelphia to pursue a fine arts degree, then I received a brochure from a school I’ve never heard of, Franklin Pierce College (as it was known back then). I saw they offered Arts Management. Their slogan Make a Place for Yourself was also intriguing, because as far back as I can remember I have always enjoyed getting involved. When I got to Franklin Pierce I was blown away with the landscape coming from suburban NJ. Also my high school, which I was the president of my junior year, was twice the size of FPC, I saw FPC as a great opportunity filled with change.
S: Did you ever want to transfer?
J: A lot of people that I saw transferring out of Pierce either just went here to get their GPA up to go to the school they really wanted to go to in the first place, which is fine, or they didn’t fully take advantage of the FPC environment- Small classes, clubs, and it’s setting… A lot of cool things to check out here are all within three hours away from pierce in every direction… we used to just use FPC as a mother ship for the week then on the weekend if nothing was going on we would go for an adventure. For us it was a great place to meet people and do stuff.
S: What are your thoughts on students, faculty and staff?
J: As an upperclassmen I had worked for every department the school offered, and was lucky to get to know a majority of the faculty, staff, and administration. I think people transfer a lot because people don’t get out to [the surrounding towns of] Jaffrey or Peterborough enough. MindFull Books [in Jaffrey] always has things going on from music to poetry and great coffee. Art in Peterborough is huge… great exhibits and artists are always out and about. I don’t know if the lack of exploring off campus is just because people in our generation spend too much time on their computers and not enough exploring the real world trying and finding new things… or if it’s because most professors don’t encourage their students to go explore the area… either or… I think we could do a better job at getting us [Franklin Pierce] as the locals say “off the hill.” We do a great job with our initiatives to get the community here with Halloween and Messiah but when you step off our campus you don’t see our Logo in any town around us… if you didn’t drive down 119 and see our entrance it’s almost like we don’t exist here.
S: Why did you decide on your major? And how do you believe the FPU business curriculum suited you or could possibly be changed?
J: [When] I went into FPC, now FPU, I loved our business curriculum, Arts management is not a major typically offered at other schools even less likely back when I was looking for colleges. As for professors that really impacted my time here I’d have to say Dr. Little, Kelly Kilcrease and Bill Costa… I had my first two years learning the principles of business and it was great. The late Professor Walsh was always on the bench with a newspaper and his pipe, I made it a point to make it there after breakfast with my coffee and Boston globe and we would talk about the news. As I had grown into more specific business studies my [junior and senior] year I learned a lot more about my personal beliefs on management and commerce and our curriculum is designed to build that, which I believe is one of business departments core strengths.
S: When and why did you decide to apply to graduate school? And was there an aspect of the FP community that helped prepare you for graduate school and the workload associated with it?
J: I really like the modular structure of the MBA program compared to a [thesis-based] grad school degree and [also liked] the Energy and Sustainability Studies track. I wanted to continue my education here at FPU because the professors here are familiar with my learning style, and it took four years to build that. Going back to the modular aspect of the program, Americans change their careers so many times in their life, and I just know I’ll have so many different jobs in my own life, if I only had a thesis to work on my career could change, with a modular system it goes back to more about what my personal learning has been in the course and how it builds and contributes to my future goals. If it wasn’t for the tools we have offered here I wouldn’t have gotten this far!!!! From what I call my bunker in the library that the staff and students with learning disabilities have here is just … awesome… down to The Write Place… I couldn’t say enough how they changed my education.
S: Overall what are the top three things you have taken away from your education at FP that have helped you in the professional world?
J: Do what you think is right and know why you think it needs to be done. Be ready to be challenged, and most importantly make sure you’re the one [who] is challenging yourself the most.