3. Mai 2019

No Team, No Master's Degree – On the Importance of the People Around You

When I started the Content Strategy Master's Programme at FH Joanneum, I expected to tackle it as a lone wolf. After all, it was not the first time for me to study remotely. So I got ready for two lonely years striving towards my degree. I couldn't have been more wrong.

close-up photography of howling wolf
Photo: Michael Mazzone via Unsplash

As soon as I received the note that I made into the programme (25 spots for 80 applicants – I was so proud), I was invited to a Slack channel. I had heard of Slack but had never used it before. We received a list of tasks to fulfill in Slack like "post in channel x what you are very skilled at" or "post in channel y where you work". I was skeptical, to say the least. I wasn't here to write stuff about me, I wanted to learn about content strategy! Then I began reading what the others wrote – and got really excited. 

It quickly turned out that my fellow students would be at least as exciting as content strategy itself. By all the little writing tasks in Slack we got to know each other better and better. By the time we met for our first presence week at the university in Graz, we were no strangers to each other anymore. Side note: To my surprise, many people were shorter than I had expected. How so? When I learn about people before meeting them, I imagine them as tall as I think they are skilled, don't you?

You Never Walk Alone 

It's great to study alongside people you like and respect. What's even better: To be constantly supported by these people. Our Slack conversations have evolved into a magnificent self-help group. Whenever someone posts a question, the answer doesn't take longer than half an hour. Someone will know the answer and post it immediately. Very often it's not about sharing knowledge but frustrations. Juggling a job, 
friends, maybe a family and a Master's Degree is no joke. We all get frustrated from time to time and I do not know of a single one of us who has not thought about giving up at least once. That's when the group shares encouragement and also practical support. One of us has to deal with exceptionally heavy workload at the office? The others will take care of the bigger parts of a group work. One of us has just delivered a baby? The rest of us will try our best to bring her up to speed a few weeks after (Yes, that actually happened). I honestly never thought I would feel this supported during a remote programme with only a few presence days. 

wolf pack on rock formation
Photo: Thomas Bonometti via Unsplash

Study Hard, Party Harder

The best thing about our group is that we like each other. Spending time together is fun and we do it as often as possible during presence times. A really big group turns up at a bar, a restaurant or even a gala? It's probably us, celebrating our latest finished assignment. Admittedly, we will also celebrate before finishing stuff if the opportunity presents itself. Some days we might have turned up to our classes slightly hungover but it was worth it every time. I can truly say that I love this course and that I am really happy to be part of this group. I'm not the only one. Alex has turned all of us into "buyer personas" and wrote the most flattering blog post about the Content Strategy Course 2017.

Keep this in mind if you think about applying for this programme: You might end up with a lot more people you care about by the time you get your degree.

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