• Dana Pfrangle

Unapologetically Proud

Let's back up to the fall of 2018. I had started a new job at an organizational psychology firm that runs an employee assistance program and implements mental health managed care for several companies and unions across the United States. During this time, I was surrounded with people who had obtained their master's degrees and PhDs. Basically, I was in an environment that really celebrated continual learning. After about 3 months of being there, I found the drive to want to go after a master's degree in Human Resources.

I spent about a month researching various online programs, and I decided to enroll in Colorado State University Global's MA in Human Resource Management program. As a graduate from CSU Fort Collins, it offered me a 10% discount. Another selling point is that it is a SHRM aligned program.

Now...when I completed my bachelor's degree at CSU Fort Collins, I graduated with a 2.97 GPA. I did not do well my first year and a half there and spent the remaining time trying to bring my GPA up. I did very well during those final years, but it wasn't good enough to get to 3.0. Truthfully, I probably would have benefited from taking a year off between my Senior year in high school and starting college. I wasn't ready (emotionally) for it. Obviously, I learned a lot from that experience, so it wasn't a total loss.

Since I didn't have a 3.0, I had to write a short essay and take an aptitude test to get accepted to CSU Global's master's program. Truthfully, I felt a little embarrassed about having to prove I was smart enough to get a master's degree. However, I sucked it up and completed both. I received above average scores, and I was accepted to start at CSU Global in early 2019.

The acceptance did require that I take their general business course first before I could proceed with my Human Resource Management classes. I have to say, it was a hard class. I am guessing it is a way to weed out those that aren't committed. I did receive an A, but it took A LOT of hard work.

I will not bore you with explanations of every class I took during this time. However, I will tell you that I had the opportunity to take an international business class and travel to London with a group of amazing people from CSU Global. My husband and son joined me on this adventure, and it was incredible! I am so happy I was able to do this, because the COVID-19 pandemic started about 4 months later.

The most important takeaway from my experience going back to school in my late 30s/start of 40s is that school is fun when you enjoy the subject matter. I know it is a simple and over said concept, but it is true. Honestly, I wouldn't have known what I liked until I had real world work experience. I am glad I took the time to figure out my interest in Human Resources before spending the time and money on a master's degree. I am almost certain I will continue on the learning path...but I am going to give myself about a year break.

Remember, it is ok to be unapologetically proud of your accomplishments. I graduated with a 3.92 GPA, and I am happy to share it. I worked full-time during all of this, and I even pushed through during a case of the shingles and a case of COVID-19. Most importantly, I had unwavering support of my husband who took on extra parenting and household responsibilities. I am truly grateful to have my amazing husband. We make a great team.

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