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EZ Insider: Experiencing the IMC Classroom in Transit

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When people ask about me about myself, one thing I always mention is that I love to travel.

I love to see new places, meet new people, and take a ridiculous number of pictures. In the past week, I traveled to South Beach, Miami, Florida and stayed in a hostel with eight of my best friends  — picture eight girls in a room packed with bunk beds.

Why do I mention this? Well, when you’re enrolled in an online graduate program — like  Integrated Marketing Communication — your environment is your classroom, and last week, my hairspray, sunscreen, and glitter covered hostel was my classroom.

When I travel, I always discover something new about myself, whether it be that my base tan is no match for the Miami sun or that my typical “workaholic” attitude completely disappears as soon as I touch down in a new destination.

That said, my visions of waking up a little early to walk to a cute beach coffee shop to write my papers as the sun rose were often erased by a schedule of wake up, lay on the beach, eat dinner, and go right out to explore the alternate universe that is Miami nightlife.

This trip fell during the last two weeks of my first graduate course and there was a lot of work to be done. As you can imagine, I found myself grinding out work little by little throughout “recovery hours” during the trip and was fortunate that I had done some of the prep work before leaving, but it wasn’t easy to keep up.

Traveling and completing graduate school is possible, especially with a flexible program like IMC or DMC where you can complete coursework from anywhere there has Wifi. However, you need to prepare to finish your work ahead of time. Looking back, I wish I had read my deadlines more closely, completed everything I could before I left for my trip, and didn’t have the little hints of guilt laying on the beach thinking about what I would have to finish before dinner that night.

As someone who travels frequently, both with Public Relations Student Society of America for work and for leisure, this was a lesson in time management that I’m extremely glad I faced early on in my studies.

Traveling makes us more well-rounded people and integrated marketing communications professionals — traveling helps us learn how to interact with different people, exposes you to new ideas, and can present you with new ways to overcome challenges.

I think traveling is something that all graduate students and aspiring marketing professionals should do, and I will continue to stretch myself throughout my IMC journey. But now, I truly understand the balance and planning it takes to keep my studies my first priority, even as I travel. 

My “In Transit” playlist for your next trip:  https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5EiiEbKAM8HOjC7paHUe2e?si=qfr9ihFtSd6eMtFn-SxOVw

Travel EZ

More About Emily:

Emily Zekonis ( @EmilyZekonis) is a first-year graduate student studying  Integrated Marketing Communications with an  Area of Emphasis in  Management. She is from the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania and holds a B.S.J. in Strategic Communications with an area of emphasis in Public Relations from West Virginia University. Follow along with her graduate adventures on the  Marketing Communications Today blog.  

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The Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program is the first online degree of its kind, and was launched by the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University in 2003. One hallmark of the WVU IMC program is its  learn-it-today, use-it-tomorrow philosophy. This philosophy is built into the curriculum and teaches students the importance of applying the best strategies and tactics in reaching key audiences.

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