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)

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? 

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.”

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