Pursue the Work You’re Passionate About
Amanda Morgida didn’t expect to pursue a career in higher education administration. She majored in art history and Italian studies at Smith College and planned to become a museum curator. But Amanda also worked in the college’s Office of Student Affairs and Residence Life and discovered that she was passionate about working with first-year students, particularly first-generation students, supporting them in their transition to college.
What really inspired me about working in this field is the opportunity to be a changemaker or create more opportunities for students who otherwise wouldn’t have it.Amanda Morgida
Amanda has enjoyed the opportunity the higher education program gives her to develop as a scholar-practitioner, and she is confident that she would be prepared to move deeper into scholarship if she decides to pursue a doctorate. She appreciates the program’s emphasis on critical thought—that students and faculty look at current practices in higher education and examine whether they are the best strategies or if they should be altering their approaches. Amanda sees this as a way to provide support for students while being a changemaker at the same time.
Amanda’s advice for any student considering the master’s in higher education is to trust themselves: “Don’t underestimate your ability to take on graduate work and to pursue the work you’re passionate about.” For those beginning the program, she recommends leaning on their cohort—both for support and to learn from them: “Because we’re all so passionate about different topics in higher ed, I’ve really been able to learn a lot not just from my courses but from my peers and their experiences.”
Amanda also recommends that higher education master’s students think broadly in their academic choices and work experiences—try a practicum in a new area, learn about unfamiliar campus offices and processes, and explore topics outside of higher education that relate to the field. “There is such an opportunity to create the educational experience that you want.”