The Balancing Act


JT Account Executive April McFadden and Jr. Account Executive Madison Howard reflect on balancing the demands of work and graduate school.

When we started at JT over a year ago, we knew we were in for a challenge. Not only were we embarking on a new phase in our professional life that would come with a learning curve and a plethora of new clients to navigate, but we were also balancing the demands of completing graduate school. One of us was on the path of pursing a degree in education policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, while the other was focused on a degree in health communication at DePaul University.

I think we’d both be lying if we said it was easy. We were working 40+ hours a week while attending two three-hour night classes at the conclusion of our busy days and finding the time to do all the assignments that came with it. On top of it all, we were attempting to maintain healthy social lives.

Reflecting back on the experience, we gained much more than a second degree. The balancing act taught us valuable lessons on prioritizing and time management. It was expected of us to be prepared not only for client meetings but also in the classroom. Even when that felt like an impossible task, with support of our colleagues we made it happen. Our colleagues served as a springboard for paper and project ideas, were shoulders to cry on when things just weren’t going our way and cheered us on to the finish line, no matter how far it felt for us. 

Going through the interview process at JT, it would have been very easy for them to overlook us due to the educational commitments we already made. But they didn’t. They allowed us the flexibility to leave early for class, presentations and even serve as an adjunct professor which took one of us out of the office right smack dab in the middle of the work day. There is no denying that a work/school/life balance would not have been achievable if JT didn’t understand the value in creating an environment that allows their employees to pursue all their dreams simultaneously.

April McFadden earned a Master of Education in Instructional Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Madison Howard earned a Master of Arts in Health Communication, with Distinction, from DePaul University.