Justine Waluvengo is a new graduate student working toward an M.A. in literature from Ball State University. She studied linguistics and literature at the University of Nairobi, where she earned a B.A.

1) What degree are you pursuing? What is it about this degree/program that interested you?

I am pursuing an MA in Literature. I believe the English Department at Ball State, not just the literature area, is well established and capable of offering the challenge that I need to develop my career.

2) Where did you attend undergrad? What did you study?

 I am a graduate of The University of Nairobi, Kenya, with a BA in Education. My subject areas were Linguistics and Literature. I majored in Literature.

3) What made you decide to attend graduate school? What do you hope to do after you graduate from our program?

Graduate school is an opportunity for me to develop my career. My goal is to be a professor of literature at the university level. I will apply for my PhD as soon as I am through with my MA.

4) What classes are you taking this semester? What are you most excited about studying?

I am taking three classes this semester 1) ENG 601 Research in English Studies, 2) ENG 669 Contemporary British Literature and 3) ID 601 Teaching Practicum in Higher Education.

This being an entirely new learning environment and education system to me, I have had to make various adjustments in my study culture. I have learned how to not only read everything but also know pretty much everything about the readings.

5) Do you have any advice for undergraduate students who might be considering graduate school? Are there things you wish you’d known before you graduated and/or when you were applying to schools?

Graduate school is fun! This does not mean that you do not have piles of assignments to finish and deadlines to beat, but it is exciting to know that you are finally on the path to professionalism.

I wish I’d begun considering graduate school earlier (while still in my undergraduate). This is important because it gives you enough time to gather all the information you might need to be familiar with the program of your interest.

As an international student from Kenya, there is a lot I did not know about graduate school here in the U.S. Considering the difference in the education system as mentioned earlier, I think it is important for any international student out there considering graduate school here to do substantial research and be more familiar with the program they are interested in beforehand. This might help reduce the pressure of adjustments at the beginning of the first semester.