Asynchronous course formats allow for greater flexibility and are a convenient way for students to further their education without having to put their lives on hold. These courses allow students to work on their own schedule while permitting them to work a job, complete internships, or even be a parent, just to name a few. It can help relieve the stress associated with balancing schoolwork with outside priorities.
The College of Communication and Information recently introduced a fully online, asynchronous master’s degree program in strategic and digital communication. The program consists of courses from each of the four schools within the college and includes components from public relations, advertising, journalism and electronic media, communication studies, and information sciences.
Mikayla Flynn is currently pursuing her master’s degree while also balancing a Graduate Teaching Assistant position, as well as a part-time job at Belk. During her time as an undergraduate student, she completed internships with companies, such as Regal Entertainment Group and Clayton Homes.
She received her undergraduate degree in marketing with a collateral in supply chain management from UT in May 2020.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering graduate school?
When considering graduate school, make sure you look at the location of the school. It’s fun to go to a school that is located in a city with lots to do and is located near other places. I would also look at the alumni engagement. I made sure people who had graduated were proud to say they had graduated from UT and continued to engage with and give back to the university.
How do you balance your time between school and work? Do you have any time management tips?
I balance my time between school and work by making a routine and knowing what my most productive hours are. I also keep a very long to-do list for the entire semester that is color-coded with matching colors for my Canvas courses. I take things one week at a time and divide up tasks for each day depending on my workload.
What made you decide to pursue a graduate degree? What attracted you to the asynchronous program?
I decided to pursue a graduate degree to learn about my interest from another angle and school. The asynchronous program attracted me because I knew that I would be able to work and go to school, knowing I could make my own schedule and be flexible.
How do you juggle working as a GTA while also handling a part-time job?
The office that I am a GTA for allows me to work the hours I want to work, as long as I get 20 hours in each week. Luckily, they are flexible, especially if something personal comes up and I need to move my hours to another day or week. After I get off work, I do my school work, or later at night. I know that these are my most productive times. I also work a part-time job on the weekends and make sure to leave school out of my weekends.
What has been your favorite part of attending UT? Why did you decide to stay here for your graduate program?
My favorite part of attending UT is the connection I feel to other students and faculty. It’s a big school, but not so big that I don’t run into classmates and study together. It’s also relatively close to many day and weekend trips: Gatlinburg, Nashville, Atlanta, etc. I decided to stay because I know that the schools I have been in at UT are well-established and have great faculty. The alumni connection at UT is also great; it is nice to connect to alumni all over the world when seeking employment after graduation.