Madison Bowles, M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration
Current occupation: Walt Disney World Casting Services Coordinator
What made you decide to pursue your degree as an adult?
Prior to enrolling in my Masters program, I was feeling stuck in my career and at a loss for what to do next. My undergraduate degree was both too broad and too specific for the career paths I realized I was interested in. While stuck at home in the middle of a pandemic, I decided to pursue my Masters degree because I felt that it was the best time to do it. I also love education, so it was an easy decision!
Why did you choose to study at Tiffin University?
I wanted to enroll in a Masters program that was online and would provide a flexible schedule to fit in with my lifestyle. I first became interested in Tiffin University because of the flexible online programs, and then I learned about the Higher Education Administration program. I was not sure the exact kind of program I wanted to study, but when I read about Tiffin’s Higher Education Administration program, I realized that it was exactly what I was looking for.
How was your experience in the program?
My experience with the Higher Education Administration program was everything that I could’ve asked for. I thoroughly enjoyed the 7-week format for each term, as it allowed me to truly learn and retain information without have to mentally balance so many courses at once. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the heavy research and writing requirements of each class, and I enjoyed the opportunities I had to interview professionals in the field! For me, the technology was easy to use as well.
How was your experience with your cohort and faculty?
I had the greatest cohort during my program! After my first term, I never had a course in the program where I didn’t already know at least one classmate. My cohort made me feel more relaxed and comfortable when posting my discussions or working on group projects because we were able to get to know each other better each term.
I also had many wonderful instructors and professors during my program. The faculty at Tiffin was always welcoming, encouraging, and eager to assist in each course. A few of the professors I worked with challenged me like I had never been before, and I am thankful every day that they helped me realize my strengths and find my voice.
How did you juggle work, life and going back to school? Any tips?
During my program, I had quite a few things to juggle. I was enrolled full-time throughout my program, but I was also working 2 part-time jobs and planning a wedding! For anyone nervous about being able to handle it all, I have to say that the flexibility of Tiffin’s online programs is extremely beneficial. At the start of each term, I would write down each and every due date in my planner, and I would set aside time each day to work on my assignments. I am a big night-owl, so I often did most of my work after the sun went down. That’s the beauty of flexible courses!
What kept you motivated to stay in the program?
Anytime I was feeling overwhelmed or stressed about my studies, I kept reminding myself of why I enrolled in the program in the first place. I was able to stay motivated throughout my program by focusing on my passions and goals, and channeling them into my work.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is thinking about going back to school?
If you’re on the fence about going back to school, take a moment to consider the reasons why you want to go back. Determine your motivations, goals, and passions, and let those be your guide throughout. If you really want to do it, then do it! Five years from now, would you regret going back to school, or would regret not going back sooner?
TU’s motto is: Without risk there is no gain. Can you tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you gained from it?
In April 2021, I applied and interviewed for a part time job at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. I had no intentions of moving to Florida permanently, but I wanted to get my foot back in the door with the company in pursuit of my dream job. Shortly after my interview, I applied for a remote position working in in human resources for Walt Disney World. I was almost halfway through my Masters program and had no experience in human resources, but I wrote my first cover letter, sent in my application, and then reached out to the Disney Recruiter that I had interviewed with just a couple of days before to ask him if he had any advice for me and information about the position.
Long story short: I got the job! I began working remotely as a Seasonal Casting Services Coordinator for Walt Disney World in May 2021, and I was recently promoted to Full Time (still fully remote) this past April.
I took a risk by applying to a job that was not my dream and was not close to where I lived. It wasn’t the ideal job for my personal situation, but it was the company I wanted to build my career with. I gained the opportunity of a lifetime and am now building my dream career, all because I took that risk.