At Integrate, a lot of people asked what led me to the IMC Program. I guess everyone’s reason is different, but I chose to start the program in 2010 because I was struggling to find full-time employment. I had two part-time jobs that were right up my alley (event planning and doing some PR for my local library), health benefits, and a decent salary with both jobs combined, but frankly, I was ready to move out on my own (I moved back with my parents once I graduated from college) and working two jobs just didn’t provide the stability I needed.
Neither one of my endeavors at the time could offer me full-time employment, due to budget constraints and other factors, so I looked elsewhere, going on interviews frequently but never getting a full-time offer. I was frustrated. About to turn 25, I was itching to get my own place, so I took a close look at why I wasn’t getting a job offer. I realized I had the skill set and the experience (I was three years post-grad at this point), but it seemed like everyone around me was starting to obtain additional education and I thought that might be the piece of the puzzle I was missing.
Throughout the start of 2010, I found out about the IMC program, contacted a previous IMC student ambassador, got accepted, figured out financial aid, and registered for my first course. I was all set to go – and honestly, wondering how I was going to fit in an extra commitment to my hectic life. About a month prior to starting, I got a full-time job offer at a web marketing firm. It was truly amazing timing, and I really did consider not pursuing the program – after all, my entire reason for starting the program was to find full-time employment, whether it be out of state or in my own town.
I realized that all the pieces of my “puzzle” had come together, and an advanced degree was only going to further my knowledge, network and skill set, so I decided to still begin the IMC 610 course on May 17, 2010, which coincidentally, was the first day at my new job.
Now 13 months later, I’m 5 classes in, and continuing to learn new talents thanks to the program that I can in turn, use at work, and vice versa. And because of the flexibility of the program, I can come home after a long work day, eat dinner, go to my local YMCA (or do something else fun), change into my pajamas and prepare my posts and/or paper for the week. Or sometimes, I’ll come home during my lunch break (I now live just four miles from my office) and do a final proof on a paper before submitting or read a post or two. And even sometimes, I take a little break – such as May thru August – because this year, I decided to take the summer off.
This flexibility lets me stay active my community through volunteering, attend events coordinated by my local young professionals group, go on trips when I need a fun getaway (like the one shown below), and stay late at work if needed. I can get my schoolwork done on my own schedule, which is something a traditional classroom program might not allow.
My story might not be your story, and maybe, you had a completely different situation that led you to the program, but as I’ve found over the past year, everyone in the IMC Program has the same mission, and that’s to help ourselves advance through education! I’ve made friends across the country and in my own backyard, which is a remarkable benefit.