Full time employee by day, full time student by night

What does it mean to be a student in the organizational leadership major at Milllikin University? Well, for starters, most of the students enrolled in this program are seeking a degree while working full time during the day which results in lots of evening classes and late night homework.

“Most days I go to work, then head home & eat supper, then get to working on homework.” says Jordan Carroll, a senior in the OL program.

Despite the hard work and long hours, a balanced life is quickly established with OL majors and before we know it– it’s graduation time!

Millikin’s Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership. Janet Kirby, Ph. D, shared her favorite part of instructing in the department. “OL students are generally full-time employees and can make immediate use of elements of most classes in real time. Right up with this reason is the sense of self-confidence that grows in each student as they advance along the path to degree completion. Without exception, students become the kind of people they have admired professionally but never felt quite at the level. To be a part of that process is remarkable.”

So if you were wondering if the hard work is worth it… it most definitely is. The benefits that come from the relevant courses students are able to participate in become useful instantly in their professional roles.

Although there are some obvious obstacles associated with students in the OL program, there are also some benefits. As we pointed out earlier, majority of OL students are employed and for some, have had full professional careers before returning to education to complete their degrees. This professional experience and hands on learning opportunities sets them up for success when learning about and discussing work place situations in class. “There is knowledge and there are skills developed in class which have immediate applicability for students.” says Kirby.

The curriculum that is available to students in the OL program is both traditional and unique. Of course, there are the basics such as accounting and business communication but then there are some more nontraditional courses such as creativity & innovation and self-leadership. I think the combination of traditional and nontraditional courses perfectly embodies the organizational leadership students and their unique career paths.

If I could give a new student in the OL program some advice, it would be to remember the end goal. In times of struggle, it is important to remind yourself of the end goal and to keep pushing forward through the rough patch. It most likely will get better, but even if it does not, the end goal is going to be so worth it!

Written by Kelsie Wujek, Millikin University, Organizational Leadership ’22

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