The Hardest Step is the First Step: Obtaining my MPA
Greetings! I am Emily Boge, RDH, BS. I am a wife, mom, dental hygienist, writer, dental researcher, farmer, and current MPA student at UIU. Balancing these tasks is not easy, but is definitely possible through the use of effective time management and support from those who surround you on this journey.
I came to UIU in 2011 with five years of college behind me. After completing my dental hygiene boards I thought school was over forever. I have always loved learning, but dental hygiene school had burned me out. Other than a few continuing education credits here and there, I found no site of higher education on the radar – that is, until I got involved with the political efforts of the Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association.
It was then that I learned there was a whole world outside of my dental office! I began traveling to national meetings of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association as a national delegate, and found not only did I love it all, but I was not half bad at the skills I was using. As I met more and more of the movers and shakers in dental hygiene I found that one thing all of them had in common was a higher education. My future (still unsure what it is going to be) required me to have a Master’s degree. After researching many programs, I decided to set my goals on an MPA in Health and Human Services. So, after finally getting my student loans paid off eight years after ‘college’ was over, I found myself back in class at Upper Iowa University as a Psychology major.
UIU online was perfect for me. I started with one class at a time, working full-time. I then took two, and even three for the last two terms. Thanks to a network of supportive family and friends, my degree was completed in fourteen months. It was then that I began the course work for my MPA. The first five undergrad pre-requisites were challenging, as math is not my strong suit. Economics, Accounting, Finance, and Statistics beat me up. Political Science was quite easy for me, as was my first “Grad” course of Public Administration. Research Methods brought me more math, but I met the challenges head-on with reassurance from my advisor Dr. Poppe. I am now enrolled in Advanced Research Methods and am finding the more I read, the more I understand. For the first time in my life this program is requiring me to read material twice – but that is OK! I realize that anything worth having is going to require some hard work.
My advice to anyone who wants to get their Master’s, or any degree for that matter, is to take that first step and sign up for a class. The satisfaction I get every 8 weeks when I finish a course and get one step closer to my MPA is way better than passing another level of Candy Crush, or watching another episode of a TV program because in reality, that’s all I really feel that I miss out on as a student. I manage my time better and cut out all the time wasters so I can achieve my goal.
Wishing you all the best,