Academia: My Chosen Career Path

Day 16: Career Change

So the prompt for Day 16 was missing, but the title is apparently called Career Change. Being that I have yet to embark on my career, let alone change it, I thought I would take this blog post to talk a little bit about my chosen career path, academia, and what let me there.

As many of you know, I went straight to graduate school right out of undergrad in 2008. I applied to 7 master’s programs, and got into all of them, but ultimately decided to go with the University of Maryland because it gave me the best offer and was allowing me the opportunity to teach, which I was definitely interested in but unsure if I wanted to go that route. And so, in August 2008 I moved to College Park and started my life as a full-time graduate student.

My original goal was just to get my master’s degree and move on to work in public relations. My personal statement even mentioned opening my own PR firm some day. Well sometime during that first year, my perspective changed. I realized that I really enjoyed teaching, and I definitely loved research. Thus, began my journey toward the life of academia.

The following year I started working toward building my CV. I started sending out manuscripts to journals, and I continued with my teaching. I also started thinking about Ph.D. programs. Although I started a number of applications, I ended up applying only to UMD, and was accepted. I had started such a strong foundation there that it made the most sense to just stay. Plus, I would finish faster, and would continue to be close to Mike and my family.

Fast forward three years later, and I have not in the slightest regretted my decision. I’ve had the opportunity to teach five different courses for the COMM Department, with my sixth course, Crisis Communication, coming up this semester. I’ve worked with several faculty members and have a number of publications in some pretty great journals. And I’ve done some service for the department as well, serving on committees and serving as a mentor for undergraduates. All in all, I think I made the best out of my time at UMD.

Now with the light at the end of the tunnel fast approaching, and my doctorate and graduation coming in just a few short months, I am super excited to launch my career as a tenure-track assistant professor. Though there were times when I questioned going straight through for all of my degrees, I’m pretty stoked that I will have a doctorate at 27 years old. I also feel very fortunate that I quickly found a profession that I am passionate about and that I actually enjoy. I’ve come across too many people in my life that absolutely hate what they are doing in terms of a job. I’m not one of those people, and I feel very lucky.

Being a university professor does come with its ups and downs – in fact there are two articles on Forbes arguing whether academia is the most or least stressful job – of course it’s stressful, but I dunno, I kind of welcome those challenges and stress. It’s stress that I don’t mind dealing with because ultimately, I’m happy. And that’s what really matters right?

So again, I can’t wait to start my career come Fall 2013. I’m proud of what I’ve done so far to get to this point, and I’m excited to keep on moving onward and upward. Watch out academia: Rowena Briones, Ph.D., is coming soon! ๐Ÿ˜€

About Rowena Winkler

Passionate Performer, Speaker and Writer by Calling, Dancer of All Good Beats, Yoga Practitioner and Enthusiast, Spiritual Trustee of the Universe, Traveler of Many Distant Lands, Lover of Derek the Logical but Amiable, Mother of Eponine/Dex/Teyla, Architect of Spoken Word Poetry, Trainer in the Craft of Communication, Unapologetic Individual, First of Her Name.
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4 Responses to Academia: My Chosen Career Path

  1. meloquence says:

    Congratulations Rowena on your bright future!

  2. John Pollock says:

    You have done so much by age 27, I hope your thirties are also a challenge! I am confident you will go from strength to strength. All best wishes. JP

    • Thanks John I also hope the next 10 years will be just as successful! I feel very fortunate to be given so many amazing opportunities. My hope is to pass on the knowledge to my students, just as you have done with me when I was at TCNJ. ๐Ÿ™‚

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