Rebecca Dominguez, GW Online Paralegal Studies Graduate

Rebecca Dominguez, Graduate
Master’s in Paralegal Studies Online Program
The George Washington University

Transcript

Tell us about yourself
My name is Rebecca Dominguez and I was taking a master’s program with an emphasis in Paralegal Studies.

Why did you choose the GW Paralegal Studies online program?
I chose the Paralegal Studies masters’ program, because I am working fulltime as a paralegal and I already had a degree, so I wanted to find a way to further my education as well as my career. And at the time I had found that I was laid off from a large company and trying to find a way to reinvent myself and kind of get myself back out in the market. And so getting a masters’ seems like a great way to do it and I wanted to be able to have the accessibility of not having to go to a classroom so to speak, and be restricted.

So far it’s benefitted me in a way that I will now be able to go out into the marketplace and not only have a bachelors’, but a masters’ and be able to say that I have the ability to do the research, the writing. I have the education to back the writing and now I can take on challenges that I might not have been able to take on before with just having work experience, so to speak.

How did you find online learning?
I found it to be very amenable to my situation. Having online classes gave me the freedom to do classwork as I needed and when I needed, not from six to nine on a Monday or Tuesday, but at eight o’clock when my kids went to bed, or at nine o’clock, after I finish my work for trying to catch up with billable time and what not.

I enjoyed the interaction with the students through the discussion questions, and when I was able to put answers together and questions that… not necessarily meeting people, but kind of going through a dialogue format and learn through that way, rather than just through a textbook, and see other people’s opinions and where they’re coming from with their work experience and education experience.

My experience with the faculty was great as well. I mean if you would send out a question, they were pretty quick to respond within 24 hours and it was nice, because I’m very tech-friendly, so I was able to use e-mail quickly and that’s generally how I interacted with most of my teachers.

What was your favorite course?
My favorite course was the challenging one, which was Legal Research and Writing. I found that it was kind of like the pillar course, as they called it, to get your education going with the program, and the challenge was great and that way I knew that okay, if this is the hardest class, I can definitely do the next-time classes after this.

How did you balance work, school and other obligations?
I find life in general needs a balance, but balancing work, kids and school was that I had a timeslot for each thing as to how to delegate out my day, that when I was at work, I was at work and when I was at home, I was dedicated to my kids till they went to bed and then when they went to bed at eight o’clock is when I started classwork and kind of used my weekends as the time to juggle other things. Yeah, you may have missed out on a few things here and there, but it was such a short program that I was able to, now that they’re getting older, kind of spend that extra time with them.

And the program, depending on what classes I had, I was able to, during the week, start my week out with doing the reading and the lectures and then it’s following through, maybe have a day off and then do an assignment, have a day off. So it wasn’t as though it was necessarily seven days a week doing work, by spending three to four, and then some good solid time on the weekends.

Any final thoughts?
My final thoughts are… I think that George Washington is an excellent school and I think that the masters’ program is going to take off from here with the distance learning. Each program kind of has its niche, and me working as a paralegal, I think was a great way to now reinvent myself to have more education, a better way to now bounce off of, and also having the ability to talk to people who have experience in the legal field, kind of gave me that good go-ahead to kind of now bounce out into the world and further my career, I hope. And if not, I will be furthering my education – either go to law school or do a national certification.

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