“I can now see myself crossing the stage once again with a Bachelor of Communications degree majoring in Journalism and Digital Media.” (PHOTO COURTESY: Hajar Al Khouzaii)

In 2015, I graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor of arts degree majoring in political science and minoring in philosophy. I was accepted into Bond University in Australia for a JD in law that same year. 

However, a week before the first semester began, I decided not to pursue law school and instead apply to get my master’s degree in military and strategic studies at the University of Calgary. But unfortunately, I needed a specific GPA grade to get accepted.

One day, one of my professors sat with me and advised me to go back to school. He told me I could do another bachelor’s degree, which would only take two years to finish since I already held one degree.

 I will never forget that moment, I lost my confidence completely because of it. The problem wasn’t the thought of going back to school, but I kept thinking, did my previous years of education go to waste?  

I couldn’t accept the idea of doing another undergraduate degree. The loss of my confidence blinded me and turned me into a hopeless individual who no longer believed in herself. For a few years, I had an internal fight with myself. The economy had collapsed and I couldn’t find meaningful work with my educational background due to all the government organizations requiring years of experience, which I didn’t have.

“A bachelor’s degree in a lot of ways is a type of currency in our world.”

Rachel Doe

As I searched for my next step, I wondered if it was ever too late to get a second degree.

A study done by the University of Arizona says that a second bachelor’s degree is a great step towards career and personal development. Regardless of that, many people choose to pursue a master’s degree after finishing their bachelor’s degree.

The study states that “a second bachelor’s degree can open up more possibilities for graduates. Although getting a master’s degree may be the first choice for many professionals looking to go back to school, there are many good reasons to opt for a second bachelor’s degree too. Not only does it open up more opportunities for those looking to expand their skill sets or change career trajectories, it also can be an affordable and convenient alternative.”

For a moment I regretted the decision I made of not going to law school, even though it wasn’t my dream career. I thought it was a better option than going back to university for the second time to do a bachelor’s degree. 

For years I kept going from one job to another and kept searching for what I wanted to do to further my education. But eventually, I returned to the idea of getting that second bachelor’s degree.

Rachel Doe, Mount Royal University’s academic advisor for the faculty of arts, says that a secondary bachelor’s can be useful if it’s purposeful.

“There are some second bachelors that are important because they provide a credential or a certification to do a certain profession. Second bachelor’s can be useful if you finished one and then you change your direction,” she says. “In some cases, it’s important to do the second because it is going to give you the skills or the certification you need.”

Years may have passed since my first degree, but I’ll be more successful in my education thanks to my age. 

“Older students in a classroom, they’re much more dedicated. Because you have a sense of future that your younger self doesn’t have,” Doe says.

A typical toolkit for journalism students – textbooks and equipment.  (PHOTO COURTESY: Hajar Al Khouzaii)

An article published by Franklin University in Ohio states that oftentimes when employers decide to promote an employee, their educational background plays a major role in the decision making and that a “second bachelor’s degree could be the difference-maker” in that decision. 

Also, according to the study “getting a second degree can take an area that you already know very well and boost your career standing, giving you legitimate credentials to prove your knowledge.”

In the process of deciding what major to take, I found journalism. I’ve always loved writing, current events, and human rights. What better program than journalism?

 I applied, got accepted, and confidently drew out a new plan. Step one: get a bachelor of communication majoring in journalism. Step two: get a master’s degree in journalism, and step three: get my PhD.

A survey done for the Canadian Index of Wellbeing by the University of Waterloo concludes that having a university degree may increase the amount and selection of available job opportunities and it can have a generally positive impact on an individual’s professional and personal lifestyle. 

The same study states that those who have a university education tend to be naturally aware and have an ethical dynamic, and frequently are able to “invest in leisure and culture opportunities.” 

I think to myself, if one bachelor’s degree is capable of opening all these doors, imagine what having two of them can do? 

As Doe explains, “A bachelor’s degree in a lot of ways is a type of currency in our world.” 

With my acceptance letter into the journalism program at Mount Royal University, I gained back my confidence. I can now see myself crossing the stage once again with a bachelor of communication degree majoring in journalism and digital media.

Later, I will cross the stage to get my master’s degree in journalism and have a job within that field and finally, one day, I’ll hold a doctorate.

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