Master Maren.


I always knew I wanted to get a master’s degree, but for the longest time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. I tried a lot of subjects on for size, most of which logically aligned with my previous degrees or career choices, but none of them stuck. It wasn’t until I fell into design and applied to MCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program that I realized “designer” was the piece of myself I had been missing. Looking back, design and design thinking have played a role in almost every job or project I have taken on—I just never knew to call it that. It may have taken years for me to figure that out, and it may have been frustrating and scary to change directions in mid-air, but I did it and it is still one of the bravest things I think I’ve ever done.

Summer of 2017, with the completion of the post-bacc program, I thought I was done. Done with balancing school and work, done with caffeine late in the evenings, done with ignoring the rest of my life for homework and projects. But when I was given the opportunity to expand that certificate into a master’s degree last fall, I couldn’t say no. Was I ready to jump back in after only a few short months? Maybe not. It was hard. But last night, all that hard work, all those sleepless nights, all those doubt-filled moments I forced myself to move through, those all paid off.

I know you don’t need a master’s degree to be a good designer or to get a design job—I already have one after all. But going back to school was never about that. It was about finding my own voice and identity through design, learning from others in a collaborative environment, and discovering what graphic design looks like for me. For that, I am forever grateful to my instructors at MCAD and my brilliant and supportive cohort-mates throughout both programs. I am a better designer and person because of all of you.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the other amazing people who have supported me throughout this three-year program and five-year journey. My family and friends have been the world’s greatest cheerleaders, sounding boards, and unintentional life coaches, and I am beyond grateful for that. Thank you for loving me and supporting me and holding me up when I struggled to see the worth of my work, the value of self-care, or the finish line at the end. You are the greatest parts of this life. ❤️💕

The decision to apply to MCAD truly changed my life and I am honestly just really fucking proud of myself. Going to school and being a working adult is hard, and going to school and putting everything you are into the work you create is exhausting. But I would do it all again in a heartbeat. No doubt this time. 💃🏼👩🏼‍🎓✨