Rebecca Dominguez, GW Online Paralegal Studies Graduate

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


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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