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Stories and advice to help you start or finish your degree

Granite State College Blog

Unforgettable Memories from the 2016 #granitegrad Ceremony

Posted by Granite State College on Jun 9, 2016 1:56:50 PM

As always, our 2016 Commencement ceremony was one to remember.

Here are a few of our top moments from a wonderful day!

Governor Hassan and President Rubinstein

1.  Hosting Governor Hassan

Governor Hassan is one of the New Hampshire's leading advocates for affordable, high-quality public higher education. That support was evident in her remarks. She recognized that our population of working adult students is uniquely prepared to serve as leaders. She encouraged the Class of 2016 to continue to support their New Hampshire communities.

 Brian graduates in 2016

2.  Celebrating YOUR Success

When you finish your degree, there's often a career goal on the horizon that you're hoping to achieve. At the Commencement ceremony, our faculty and staff were delighted to hear about the graduates latest career updates.

Brian Bussiere, an aspiring educator, landed his first job teaching math and is looking forward to starting his new job in the fall.

With multiple locations across New Hampshire and online courses, it's not often we can get together and celebrate in person--.

Staff  volunteer at the 2016 graduation ceremony in the rain

3.  The Show Must Go On

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

This may be the United States Postal Service creed, but we felt like it applied to our special day, too!

The Class of 2016 and their loved ones broke out their umbrellas to brave the rain to support each and every #granitegrad. The staff put on ponchos to help the graduates register for the day and quickly get to their seats under the pavilion.

The weather never stops our Postal Service, and it sure didn't stop our graduation.

 Creative graduation cap

4.  #GraniteGrad Style

Dozens of creative members of the Class of 2016 showed their personality by customizing their graduation caps.

We thought this graduation cap really captured the spirit of our ceremony:

The dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
- "Over the Rainbow," Judy Garland

 Sisters graduate together

Mother graduates, supported by her daughter

5.  Family Matters

It's inspiring to hear how family members inspire each other to finish their degrees!

Sisters Patricia and Janet graduated together at the ceremony. Patricia earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Janet finished a B.S. in Criminal Justice.

Michelle Couture Harrington and her daughter are no strangers to pomp and circumstance: Michelle completed her associate degree, while her daughter graduated from our sister institution, Plymouth State University, just a few weeks ago.


6.  Finding your SUPER POWER

Our student speaker, Katherine Graham, shared an empowering story of how she found her inner super powers, and encouraged the Class of 2016 to do the same.

I have the ability to connect with people and empathize with them so I can understand where they are and help them achieve their goals. It is my superpower. I use it daily, sometimes without even realizing it. With this superpower, I have learned to leave my ego at the door. Connecting to someone and having them trust you when they are vulnerable is a great honor and there is no better feeling in the world to me. I want more of that. That is what I move towards in my future. So I ask you, what is your superpower? How will you take your knowledge, experience, and God-given ability to change the world into a better place?

Of course, this is just a few highlights from an unforgettable day. Check out our image gallery to see more of our favorite #granitegrad memories from our 2016 Commencement Ceremony.


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Tags: Commencement, Commencement 2016

Alum earns National Recognition after Finishing a Degree in Psychology

Posted by Granite State College on Jun 2, 2016 4:21:53 PM

Shelia Sirois, a 2015 Granite State College graduate with a degree in Psychology, currently works as General Manager at a restaurant near her hometown of Littleton, New Hampshire.

2015 Graduate SheliaShe completed her degree while working a hectic, full-time job. Since graduating, she has celebrated impressive career success and credits her Granite State College experience.

What's special about Shelia is that she's not only an exceptional manager, but also a leader who inspires her staff, friends, and loved ones to pursue their own educational goals.

Career Advancement through Education
Shelia's career really took off when she started her bachelor's degree program. She was initially promoted to Assistant Manager and then to her current GM position. She graduated with her B.S. in Psychology in 2015 and is currently enrolled in the masters of leadership program.

Although I majored in psychology and not business, I feel that my education has genuinely helped me obtain this position. I have an increased understanding of people and how to be an effective manager.

Finding Support and Building Connections
During her time at Granite State, Shelia found a community of like-minded faculty, staff, and fellow students who share her enthusiasm for education. In this supportive environment, Shelia thrived.

What I love best about this school is the ease of use for those with busy lives. I worked full time, often more than 50 hours a week, while also juggling a part-time job on campus. I have two wonderful step daughters and I'm just a busy person in general. I don't think that I would have been so successful in a different school.

Being surrounded by so many people that have a love of education inspired Shelia. She brought this spirit to the workplace, encouraging her staff to prioritize their education.

Our policy at the restaurant is school comes first. I let my high school students off early during finals. I reserve spots for my traditional college students so they have a job to come back to when they're on break.

I've had two of my managers visit the Granite State campus in Littleton so they could see if they could find a program that fit their needs. Most recently, one of my employees visited an open house on my suggestion and applied for a Bachelor's in Psychology program. She told me when I graduated that I was an inspiration and I'm glad that she decided to do this for herself.

Accolades and Accomplishments
Due to her excellent management skills, Shelia recently received the "Outstanding General Manager" award for operating year 2015. This award is presented to the top 10% of General Managers in her company nationwide and is based on how well their store preformed with sales growth, profits, customer satisfaction, employee retention, and community efforts.

Receiving this award is one of the highest honors awarded to GM's in this company!

I was surprised but also felt accomplished and I hope I can keep up the momentum for 2016 and onward.

I fully believe that the education I have received at Granite State College prepared me for this success and with my recent enrollment in grad school, I hope to be able to build the business further and expand my career potential.

Next Steps

As for the future, Shelia is excited to learn even more about management in her new graduate program, the Master of Science in Leadership.

I feel that it's the perfect program for what I am trying to do with my career at this moment and being able to build upon my base knowledge of people skills will allow me to be a better manager.

Shelia’s advice for the Class of 2016:

It doesn't matter where you start your journey as long as you invest your time and effort into it. Even an entry level job can one day lead to a fulfilling career.

During this graduation season as grads receive their diplomas, we'd like to congratulate Shelia on her outstanding accomplishment and thank her for her selflessness in her community. She continues to be an inspiration to many.

Congrats, Shelia!!

Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Commencement 2015, Alumni, Commencement

Alumni Offer Advice to the #granitegrad Community

Posted by Granite State College on Jun 1, 2016 5:55:07 PM

As we approach another Granite State College graduation ceremony, we wanted to share well wishes from our alumni community!

Here are their life lessons and career advice for each and every #granitegrad in the Class of 2016.

Spring2016AlumniReception.jpgPaul D. - B.S. in Criminal Justice Management, Class of 2004. M.S. in Leadership, Class of 2014

Learning doesn't end with your degree. In fact it's just the beginning. Engage your employer with the knowledge you have obtained. Tell them you're willing to step up and help move the mission forward.

Jean D. - B.S. in Applied Studies, Class of 2009
Remember this is a beginning – keep going, education never ends! Reach out to your fellow man, especially those who haven’t had the opportunity as we've had – it's never too late!

Ken C. - B.S. in Applied Technology, Class of 2009
Seek your goals and passions while sharing who you are. Continue to dream.

Kathleen A. - B.S. in Business, Class of 2010
I didn’t get my degree to advance my career. I did it for me. I wanted to tell my kids that they need a college education. To do that, I had to get one first. I missed out on the typical college experience, but my experience was just as rewarding and enlightening. And fun!

Amy B. - B.S. in Business Management, Class of 2013
Don't give up on what you're striving to achieve! No matter your doubts or obstacles - remember you're worth it! Nothing that is worth the effort is easy – you got this.

Use GSC Career Services! They have wonderful knowledge and tools you may need.

Sara A. - B.S. in Psychology, Class of 2015
Just be positive and push yourself! You are stronger and more capable than you think! Stay focused and remember that every day of this journey, you are one step closer to your goal. Good luck 2016 Graduates!

Sandy F. - B.S. Applied Studies, Class of 2015
Perseverance is key. Start today and you'll soon discover how quickly you can accomplish your degree.

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." -Andre Gide

Sara G. - M.S. in Leadership, Class of 2015
Always remember to stop and reflect. You can’t do your best work if you don’t take care of yourself first.

One of my professors once told me... "You can’t rake leaves in a hurricane!" It’s true! Do one thing at a time & always do your best.

Smile, be kind, and be reasonable. Everyone wins that way.


Congratulations, Class of 2016!


Tags: Commencement, Commencement 2016

Adventure, Sun, and Island Fun: Take Summer Classes by the Sea!

Posted by Granite State College on May 17, 2016 1:16:18 PM

If you love the connection of face-to-face classes, but have trouble fitting them into your schedule, consider taking one of our summer classes at the Isles of Shoals.

These courses follow an intensive format, with the bulk of your work taking place during a  four-day, three-night stay on New Hampshire's beautiful Star Island in the Isles of Shoals. Prior to the intensive, your class will meet face-to-face at the Rochester campus. Following, most classes will have a final project that you'll complete.  

For the Summer 2016 term, we are offering three Isles of Shoals courses: Introduction to Watercolor, Maritime History, and Managing Diversity.

There are a few Isles of Shoals traditions that the students and instructors always enjoy during their weekend away.

Star Island classmates Family Style Meals
Participants in all three classes will break bread together for group meals. As busy working students, it's hard to get to know your classmates outside of the classroom discussion, and the group meals serve as a great way to make authentic one-on-one connections. This setting is always a big highlight of the experience, especially the annual lobster dinner that typically takes place on the final night.
Star Island Student  
Connection to the Environment
The courses we offer at the Isles of Shoals are offered for a reason: the environment enhances what you're learning. The seascape will inspire students in Introduction to Watercolor.

Faculty member Chris Benedetto, a "veteran" Isles of Shoals instructor, will once again teach Maritime History. He shares:

It's a rare opportunity to teach the topic of maritime history in the midst of such a historically rich and naturally beautiful location as the Isles of Shoals.

Past student, Mallory Frizzell adds:

During the course, you experience a week of real-life ghost stories that actually happened right under your feet! It's an incredible class and an incredible experience. It gives you so much appreciation for the island and a taste of history that you never would have known about. Chris is one of the most passionate teachers I've had. He loves this genre of history and in turn, made all of us just as interested in the topic.
Star Island class lecture Lectures on the Porch
The historical Oceanic Hotel has hosted countless GSC lectures during Star Island courses. When the sun is shining, expect your instructor to move the group out of the classroom and onto the picturesque front porch for a lively class discussion.
 Star Island students having fun Building Bonds

Since many Granite State students lead busy lives, the Isles of Shoals classes offer a few days to disconnect from your daily schedule.

Chris Benedetto shares:

It's rewarding and refreshing for the mind and soul. Spending so much time together on the island seems to be a bonding experience for everyone involved. Each of my classes has forged friendships that enhanced the educational experience and lasted beyond the few but incredibly rewarding days of our class.

Star Island Image

Star Island row boats

Lasting Memories

In 2014, Chris Benedetto's class learned sea shanties that would have been sung by sailors on whaling ships and merchant vessels from New England during the 19th century. The tune "Cape Cod Girls," became a favorite among the class.

After learning the song on a beautiful sunny, morning we climbed into the skiffs on Star Island and began rowing across the mirror-like water towards our destination: the legendary Smuttynose Island. Soon the sound of my class singing "Cape Cod Girls" in unison echoed across Gosport Harbor in rhythm with the splash of the oars dipping into the salt water as the gulls soared overhead. For a few brief magical moments, we sailed into history itself. We had joined the generations of intrepid and curious people who have crossed those same waters to explore the Isles of Shoals for thousands of years. This was such a special moment as my class celebrated New England's maritime heritage while we enjoyed a unique experience that only the Isles of Shoals can provide.


If you're interested in this experience, consider a recommendation from a student, Mallory Frizzell:

In my opinion Isles of Shoals courses are one of the best assets GSC offers, I'm looking forward to my class out there this summer!

Course Details

Registration is open for summer classes. Classes begin the first week in July 2016. Then intensive portion of the Isles of Shoals experience runs September 5-8, 2016.

Arts 503
Introduction to Watercolor
CRN:  40340

Instructor: Roger Goldenberg

HIS 644
Special Topics: Maritime History

CRN: 40341
Instructor: Chris Benedetto

MGMT 608
Managing Diversity

CRN:  40342
Instructor: TBD
(Updates will be posted in the Dynamic Schedule)


Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Register for classes, Course highlights

5 Great Reasons to Pursue a Nursing Degree

Posted by Granite State College on May 8, 2016 6:30:00 AM

In the nursing profession, you can see the immediate effects of your work and know you are making a difference. Your days can be extremely rewarding. Here is a collection of reasons why pursing a nursing degree is so fulfilling.

Even in your first class, you make a difference in people’s lives.

You start your career gaining experience in helping people that require your presence and skills to survive. There are few careers where this happens. When you take your first nursing class, either in a classroom or doing your clinical hours, you are preparing to make a big difference in someone’s life. Making a difference and enriching lives is what nursing is all about.

rn_to_bsn_program_nurse.jpgIt’s worth all of the effort and will pay off in the long run.

Nursing is one of the top career prospects in New Hampshire. A 19% growth in the nursing profession is expected over the next 10 years. Nurses with a BSN degree have higher salaries due to the experience they gain in their nursing degree programs.

Juggling work, school, and family at the same time is a lot. However, this is a temporary situation. It will be worth all the effort you are putting into your degree now.

Class is a great place to network with other students and professors.

When you enter the RN to BSN program, you build a professional network of professors and peers. The connections you make in class could lead to your next big career opportunity.

Your instructors have been where you are and know how to help.

Nurses are natural helpers. Our instructors have had long careers as practicing nurses. They have heard and seen everything. They want you to have fun with your courses and use your time as a student to learn the profession. They don’t want you to get overwhelmed or beat yourself up or over an assignment. If you need help just ask.

You become part of a team of leaders in the most trusted profession

Nursing is the number one most trusted profession and they are often the first person encounter in an emergency situation. There is camaraderie among nurses. They understand the nature of the work and the type of person it takes to be successful as a nurse.

Download our course schedule. Learn how you can start or return to college.

Tags: Nursing

5 Meaningful Ways to Thank a Teacher

Posted by Granite State College on May 3, 2016 5:49:36 PM

When you look back over your life, you can probably think of several teachers who shaped your experience and helped you grow into the person you are today. 

TeacherFrom the teacher who helped you understand a difficult concept, to the teacher who made learning fun, to the teacher that went out of their way to help you, there are so many reasons to thank a teacher this Teacher Appreciation Week.

Thanking a teacher doesn't have to involve an expensive gift. Sometimes, it's the little things that make someone feel special and appreciated. Whether it's a current faculty member or a grade school teacher, it's important to look back on your life with gratitude and thank those who gave of themselves so freely.

Here are 5 simple ways you can reach out and thank a teacher:

1. A heartfelt email or letter

If you can find an email address or mailing address, a heartfelt message will go a long way toward making a teacher feel great. Did your teacher make learning fun? Did they infuse their lectures with excitement? Did they lend you a book or lunch money? Let them know you appreciate it with a few meaningful words!

Even if it's been years since you've seen that special teacher, your note is sure to put a smile on their face.

2. A few words of praise

If you see a teacher on a regular basis, give them a compliment! Was one of their lectures particularly inspiring? Did they give you valuable feedback on an assignment? Did they make something difficult seem easy? There's so much power in saying thank you or giving a small word of praise! Whether it's your own teacher or the teacher teaching your children, it's those little words that will let them know that you value their contribution to your life.

3. A smile

If you see this teacher this week, let them know you're happy to see them and that their efforts are making a difference in your life and the lives of others.

4. The gift of reading material

Have you recently read a book that your teacher might find interesting? Have you read an article online about a particular topic you know they're passionate about? Did you find a cool website that's right up their alley? Send them a link, an ebook, or leave them a second hand paperback!

The simple gesture of sharing knowledge or interesting content will let a teacher know you're thinking of them. Your gift could even help them with a future lecture or help inspire them as they've inspired you!

5. Tell a story

Another way to let a teacher know you care is to share the story of how they changed your life. You don't have to be an expert writer. Sincerity is what matters, so write from the heart. Describe the moment when a social studies teacher made history exciting or recount how a quirky English teacher inspired you to start journaling. How about a gym teacher who helped you learn to love running despite your reluctance?

Whatever the story, write it down! Share your story on social media, submit it to a local newspaper, or send it directly to your teacher. Think about how amazing your teacher will feel to learn about that exact moment they shaped your learning experience. You could even go so far as to print and bind your story as a lasting momento.


Teachers are a huge part of our personal growth. There are so many reasons to reach out to a teacher and plenty of simple, inexpensive, and deeply meaningful ways to say you care. And, our teachers deserve it!


Is there a teacher you can thank for the difference they've made in your life? Share your story! 

Tags: Teacher certification

6 Ways Life Improves When You Finish Your Degree

Posted by Granite State College on Apr 14, 2016 10:25:47 AM

Imagine you're standing on stage receiving your degree. What an exciting moment! You put in the work, achieved your goal, and now you can reap the rewards. So…what exactly changes now that you've earned that degree?

Student Finishes Degree at Graduatation
1. Your Resume Sings

We all know that receiving a diploma is a shining moment in the life of any graduate, but there are other impressive moments to come! Just imagine the first time you sit at your computer and update your resume and LinkedIn with your new degree, pertinent coursework, and internship, volunteer, or job shadow experiences. Or the first time you review a job description and realize that you have the degree requirement they're asking for!

As time goes on you'll begin to realize that your degree isn't just a personal accomplishment that is won and done, it's an accomplishment that will have lasting results and will make you eligible for more benefits down the road! Can you imagine a better feeling?

2. You Take Advantage of New Writing Skills and Connections

Every class you take in college will improve your writing skills. When you graduate, having that next level of polished communication skills under your belt will pay off when writing cover letters, resumes, and even thank you emails.

There's no doubt that presentation skills are important and desirable, but you'll also have new professional references and contacts to help bolster your application materials. These are lifetime connections such as faculty, other students, and staff that you may not have met if you hadn't taken the time to earn your degree. One of these contacts could be the one to help you land that next job.

3. You Land an Interview or Promotion

Remember that new degree you added to your resume? It's going to unlock doors that had previously been closed to you. You'll land that interview and in time, you'll land the job, too. A degree is a foundation and your career will build on top of the skills and credentials you've already accomplished by graduation. And when you’re looking for that promotion at work to a position that requires a bachelor's degree or one that requires a master's, you will have it!

Not only will you land that interview or promotion, you'll also be better prepared to do well in an interview with all the experiences you've had while attending college. Did you learn something about public speaking? Critical thinking? Communication? Teamwork? Being prepared and planning ahead? Imagine what these hard and soft skills can do for you as you move on to the next steps of your life!

4. Your Family Goes to College

It may be many years down the line or it could be sooner than you think, but there's hard evidence to suggest that the fact that you earned a degree will make the next generation more likely to earn a degree as well. Can you imagine your own children standing at the podium to receive their diploma? What about their children?

There are lasting benefits too, such as more earnings over your lifetime and more earnings over their lifetime which equals a better standard of living for your entire family for generations to come.

When you finish your degree, you've accomplished something that will echo throughout your family for years down the line. Now that's a lasting benefit!

5. You Earn More Money

We hear it all the time: college graduates earn more money over their lifetime than high school grads. It's true!

According to the Pew Research Center millennial college grads make $17,500 more than high school grads and the National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that, in 2012, the median weekly earnings of individuals with bachelor's degrees were about $400 higher than high school graduates. Workers with a professional degree earn the most, about $1,100 more than a high school graduate per week.

However you slice the data, these higher earnings can mean a lot of different things, from having a better standard of living and a more comfortable lifestyle to one of the most important under-appreciated benefits: you'll be better prepared for retirement.

Does that surprise you? It shouldn't! The National Center for Policy Analysis states, "Each additional year of education increases expected non-Social Security retirement income more than the previous year."

Wow, right?! Makes sense though, higher earnings means you can save more money, which in turn means a happier more carefree retirement!

6. Your Life Satisfaction Goes up!

When you add up all the benefits of living life with a degree, it's clear that putting in the time, effort, and money now can reap rewards for many, many years to come. Can you see it now? Your family's better standard of living, a happier retirement, landing that job, and having stellar application materials or witnessing your children receive their degree? Wow, there are so many ways that your life changes after you earn your degree. What better reasons do you need to Finish?


Learn how you can finish your degree. Download our guide!

Tags: Career

Thank your loved ones at Commencement

Posted by Granite State College on Mar 31, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Hey Class of 2016!

Are you looking forward to your big day on June 5, 2016?

The journey to graduation is unique for Granite State College students. We're a college that embraces busy, working students. Throughout the process of completing a college degree, you often rely on your friends and family for support. These people have been with you every step of the way and we're sure they'll be there at graduation, too.

Don't they deserve some love?

We think so!

We've developed a really cool way for students to thank their friends and family at graduation. These messages will be displayed on the big screen for everyone in the audience to see as you get ready in your cap and gown prior to the ceremony.

Here are some examples of how these messages will look:

Option #1 (with your picture):


Option #2 (if you're camera shy):


This is amazing!! How do I submit my message?

It's easy - we promise!

1. Find a photo (optional)

Either find your favorite picture that you have saved on your computer or snap a selfie. We have three golden rules, here: format, file size, family friendly.

As long as you follows these rules, your photo will be included! If it does not fit these guidelines, a text-only message will display instead.

The photo must be in .jpg format (which is the most common).

File size
File size must be at least 2 MB. If not, the quality of the image will be too blurry to display on the Jumbotron.

To find out the file size of an image that is stored on your computer:
  • Open the file where the image is saved.
  • Place your cursor over the image icon, and right-click if you are using a PC or Ctrl-click if you are using a Mac.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Click the Details tab.
  • Scroll down to the File section - To view the image file size. Keep in mind a KB is smaller than an MB.

Family Friendly
The audience at graduation will range from infants to the elderly, so please choose a photo that will be in good taste for all attendees.

2. Fill out the form
Click here to access the form. You'll provide your name, hometown, degree type, and major. You'll also type in your message to your loved ones (25 words or less) and upload your photo.

Pro tip:  spell check, spell check, spell check!
3. Review your information

If any of the required sections are not completed, you'll be prompted to fill it in again and re-upload your picture (sorry!). We encourge you to get it right the first time to prevent this scenario.
4. Submit!
It's easy as that! You'll receive a confirmation email after you complete the form.

:  Monday, May 23, 2016

We're really excited to offer this interactive component to our Commencement Ceremony and we can't wait to put it together!

Tags: Commencement, Commencement 2016

Ease "Back to School" Anxiety and Finish Your Degree

Posted by Granite State College on Mar 9, 2016 2:48:29 PM

Stressed_Out.jpgThere’s a lot of understandable stress that comes with the idea of finishing a degree program. How will you find the time? Can you handle the coursework? How long will it take? Will you be making the right decisions and spending time where it counts? What about your family and job obligations? So many questions and such uncertainty…

It's no wonder that many adult students are wary of making the leap into finishing a degree program. It's a big step that can lead to an amazing accomplishment, but it’s one that will take time and planning and yes, may cause stress.

Not to fear, we’re here to help you look at this process one step at a time to show that it’s doable.

Test the Waters

The best way to try something new is to start slowly by testing the waters. This means taking a course and seeing how it goes. For most, it’s all of the unknown factors that hold you back from finishing your degree. Once you test the waters, you’ll have the answers you’ll need to be confident in your decision to return to college. Can you handle the coursework? Can you make time in your day to work on coursework and attend class? You'll surprise yourself. You’ll discover new ways to squeeze in an extra hour here and there and continue to find life balance.

Plus one of the best things about attending college today is that course options are varied. No longer do you have to attend class in person if there isn’t a local campus or the schedule doesn't fit with your busy lifestyle. There are online classes where you interact with classmates and instructors completely online. Maybe a hybrid schedule of online and in-person classes is what you need to stay on track.

So try it out! The unknown can be a scary thing and nothing eases this fear faster than experience. Become comfortable with a new schedule by starting out slow and then you’ll see that you really CAN do this.

Get Advice

Although you feel like you’re tackling this journey on your own, when you return to college there will be built-in support all around you. Each student has an academic advisor who can discuss your schedule, degree program, and more. There’s always a financial aid department to answer any questions you might have about how to pay for your degree and what grants, scholarships, and loans are available.

And there's are additional benefits of being a student that you may not have considered. At most colleges you'll have access to free career services that you’d have to pay for elsewhere. Do you need to talk with someone about your path or how to achieve your career goals? Need help finding a job shadow experience or internship? Need to narrow down your interests and skills into a career path? Want to discuss resumes, cover letters, or job hunting? Career services is a huge benefit that can help give you a plan.

Create a Plan and Set Goals

After you’ve taken a class, met with an advisor, and financial aid, it’s time to create your own plan and set realistic goals that you can accomplish. Plan your semesters by knowing what courses you need to take and how many courses you can tackle per semester. Next, set milestones and create checklists to track your assignments. Remember to reward yourself as you check things off your lists!

The best thing about creating a plan is that it takes an enormous undertaking, like finishing a degree, and reduces the stress by breaking it down into smaller pieces. You can put your full focus on that one task that’s ahead of you, without being overwhelmed by the entire process. And don't be afraid to write it all out or buy a planner to keep yourself organized and on task.

We think you'll find that once you've set your sights on each of the smaller tasks, you'll find yourself standing at graduation wondering where the time went!

Proceed at a Reasonable Pace

It’s never a good idea to rush things and your degree is no different. Taking on too much or setting educational goals that are unrealistic will only create stress. After a semester or two you should be able to reasonably decide how many courses you can take per semester and plan how soon you'll be able to graduate.

But remember the pace is yours alone. Too slow can mean you'll quit and too fast may mean you'll burn out. It's finding that nice middle ground for your specific lifestyle that will keep you going toward the finish line.

And don't forget to take stock as you go along. Are you doing too much? Are other things in your life slipping? Or are things too easy? Could you add in another class and still make your life balance work? Eventually you'll find that place where taking a course or two will become routine.

Enjoy Yourself!

Finishing a degree is all about the experience! Take your time, meet new people, network, learn something new, take an unexpected class, find new passions, and take pride in all of your hard work. Be curious, be creative, and take the time to engage with what you’re learning on a deeper level. Trust us, you'll feel enriched by the experience!

So as you plan to finish your degree, don't lose sight of the fact that this is an experience for you. Take advantage of all there is to learn and the tremendous growth you'll achieve. Know that once you've addressed the fear and stress with knowledge and experience, there’ll be nothing you can’t tackle! Now get out there and finish that degree!


Learn how you can finish your degree. Download our guide!

Tags: Adult students, Online classes, Finding balance

Catching up with Chief Dean: Master's of Leadership Alum

Posted by Granite State College on Mar 3, 2016 10:31:32 AM

When you’re considering finishing your degree, you need support. Sometimes you don’t know where to look or who to ask. We’re lucky to have a network of alumni who raise their hand to share their stories and offer advice.

We caught up Paul Dean, a dual alum who earned his bachelor’s in 2004 and returned for his master’s degree in 2014.

Starting as an undergrad. Returning for his master’s.
Ten years after finishing his bachelor’s degree from Granite State, Paul wanted to grow his career and he started his search for a master’s degree. The decision-making process came with some big questions.

Chief Paul Dean M.S. in Leadership AlumDeciding on a master’s is one of those defining moments. You’re at a crossroads. I asked myself: should I go to another school or should I continue at Granite State where I got my bachelor's.

He researched a variety of local and online programs and as an alum, he included Granite State in his research and met with a program director in the Office of Graduate Studies.

My program director helped me understand my options and guided me through the different master's programs. I was able to find a program that fit my goals. I was able to make a plan that was right for me. What was most important in my decision was the personal touch. It’s evident that you're important. You’re not just another number at Granite State College. You’re part of a family.

Making room for academics.
Paul has a hectic and at times, unpredictable schedule. He is the Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety at the University of New Hampshire. He's responsible for all the law enforcement, homeland security, and emergency management at UNH and all its facilities across the state.

For those who say that they don't have enough time in their life, I'm an example. My schedule is probably one of the most demanding schedules around and I have been able to come back to school for my master's and do it and do it successfully.

Getting support.
Chief Dean's family, friends, and co-workers are constantly pushing him to reach his goals. Paul also found great support and a mentor within the Office of Graduate Studies.

The most important relationship I built as a graduate student was with the director for the Leadership program. There was one time when I felt like I didn’t know where I was going and my program director was instantly there for me to provide direction make me feel comfortable as a student.

Understanding that support can be hard to find when you’re just starting to think about finishing your degree, Paul wants to be considered a resource.

If you're thinking about a master's degree and you're on the edge, reach out. Contact a program director like I did or email an alumni like me (pphdean@go.granite.edu).

It's always difficult to make that first step but once you do, everything will fall into place for you like it did for me.

What’s next?
Paul's ultimate goal is to earn his doctorate to become a professor, using his degree and his 31 years in law enforcement to give back.

Click here to download M.S. Undecided:  a guide to select the right graduate program


Tags: Adult students, Leadership, Alumni