Holly McDermitt is a born researcher. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, a master’s degree in public administration and is now pursuing a master’s degree in criminology. She shares her insight on the educational process.

(Photo Courtesy of Holly McDermitt)

(Photo Courtesy of Holly McDermitt)

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Why are you pursuing another master’s degree? 

“I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in criminology. This I chose because I love the field of study. I received my bachelors’ degree in criminal justice and I found that I love to study it. I was hoping that it would help open more doors into the field by gaining more specific research topics. I have an array of experiences and have a strong analytical background. I have almost completed the second master’s, and I intend to finish it, although it is taking me longer due to working and volunteering. I currently am a volunteer researcher for an organization that helps families navigate the corrections system and increase family visitation for both adults and juveniles. I love what I do. I have also recently begun looking for more volunteer opportunities related to juvenile justice and policy. I want to help improve the system through fact-based research. I would like to become a researcher professionally.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s or doctorate degree? 

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I would tell them to make sure that it is something that they truly enjoy because it is a lot of work and requires dedication. It is not the same as college; it is no longer just regurgitating what the professor wants. It requires deep thought and analytical skills. I would also suggest that the person have work experience in that specific field. I am glad I went right after college, as it was not as difficult as having to get back into school. However, I do feel that postponing my career path has hurt me in that respect. I have a long work history, just not in my field of study. If choosing to go right after college, make sure to do plenty of internships and co-author papers or become a TA, depending on the field of study. ”

What was the biggest reward for earning the master’s degree?

“The biggest reward is having the degree. No matter what happens, I will always have that education, and no one can ever take that away from me. I made a goal and finished it.”

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com