Nicole Krempasky

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Nicole Krempasky and I’m an MA International Journalism student.

I earned my BA in Print Communications from Arcadia University in Glenside, PA USA. Afterwards, I worked for Comcast/NBC Universal in their Interactive Media department based in Philadelphia and did freelance writing for local lifestyle magazines.

What encouraged you to study at postgraduate level?Nicole Krempasky

I had taken a few years off of work after starting a family. I had moved back to my very small hometown, where there were few jobs in my field. I eventually took on a job in the legal field, but after about four years, I was feeling burnt out and unenthusiastic. It wasn’t what I had planned on doing with my career and I felt increasingly unhappy. Most jobs within my field that did open up locally told me I was either too qualified or had been out of the field for too long.

My husband had completed a MA program in his field at an American university a few years prior, and I was honestly a little jealous. He had so many new opportunities open for him, and I wanted the same. It was also important to me to show my daughter the value of higher education.

Why did you choose to study at Edinburgh Napier University?

My first decision was that I needed a school that offered an online programme, so I didn’t have to sacrifice family time. I had looked at some universities in the U.S. with online programs, but the U.K. was always in the back of my mind. I had studied there during some of my time in undergrad and I’ve always had a deep appreciation and love for everything in the U.K., traveling there as frequently as time and finances would allow. I decided to take a trip to Scotland before I settled on anything definitively, and that’s when I knew I wanted a Scottish university. I went home and did some research, and Napier was my first choice of schools to which I applied. The tuition was affordable, I was really impressed with the tutors and professors, where past students ended up in their careers, and the curriculum as a whole. It really offered the entire package.

How did you hear about the course?

I had done some research online. I narrowed my pool by U.K. schools with completely online journalism programs and Napier kept coming up. I read more about the school, the program, and the instructors, all of which left me really impressed.

Do you have any highlights or favourite parts of studying at Edinburgh Napier?

It’s hard to pick one favourite part. I loved the interaction with my peers. I was worried at first that being a distance program, I’d feel left on my own, but that wasn’t the case at all. The module instructors did a great job facilitating conversations and interactions. 

I also really enjoyed the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone. I didn’t perhaps enjoy it at the specific time, but I felt a really strong sense of accomplishment after modules like Documentary Filmmaking and Cross Platform Journalism because they were subjects and projects I’d never have attempted otherwise.

Most of all, though, were the instructors; in particular, Simon Pia, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, and Rachel Younger. Their guidance, knowledge, experience, and encouragement made all the difference for me.

Did you face any challenges during your studies and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was my own self-doubt. I hadn’t been in a college/university level course in over a decade, and then when I was, I was in with really accomplished professionals. I didn’t feel I belonged until Simon Pia told me that being a mother is one of the hardest jobs and one of the best experiences to prepare you for anything.

The end of my program was particularly tricky, as I was working on my dissertation, started a new full-time job, home-schooled my daughter (thanks, Covid), and had the general fear of a pandemic paired with the daily inconveniences of a lockdown. But by that point I was so determined to finish, and do well, that I just became more focused. I really wanted to do right by Simon and Andrew - proving that their encouragement wasn’t wasted, as well as make my family proud. I wanted to set an example for my daughter that women can do anything they set their minds to. It helped that my husband really took on so much more so I could focus on my papers and everyone at my new job was really encouraging and accommodating.

Did you take part on any placements during your time here?

I did have the requirement of completing a work placement for a module and I worked at a local TV newsroom. It's a small market, but the news director was fantastic. He was intrigued by the format of my studies and gave me a lot of responsibility that most placement students don’t traditionally receive here. We developed a nice relationship and he even offered me a permanent position. Though I didn’t accept it, that experience also added to my confidence that I’m a capable professional with something to offer.

How did you find the transition between undergraduate studies to doing your Masters?

I was initially worried about there being such a long space between my undergraduate studies and my graduate programme, but I think that time did a lot of good. I’m obviously much more mature now, with more responsibilities in my life. I think having worked and having others in my life for whom I’m accountable made my studies have higher stakes but also made them easier. 

I was terrified but determined to work very hard. I didn’t want to just complete a program of study and have a degree, I wanted to excel. That maturity I think you develop in between is really important. While I wouldn’t say the modules were easy, they were more approachable, I believe, due to invaluable life experience.

What did you do after completing your Masters?

Before finishing my Masters, I was offered a marketing and content writing position at an online school. It started as the International Correspondence School, but has developed into what is now called Penn Foster, offering high school, career school, and college courses. They also own online schools Ashworth College, James Madison High School (both out of Georgia), and the New York School of Art and Design, and the New York Institute of Photography.

Marketing isn’t necessarily what I planned to go into, but living in a small area as I do, there aren’t many journalism roles in which to go. I do enjoy it immensely, though, and my journalism background created a really strong foundation to help me do well at this role. Many of our learners are adults who were in similar situations to what I was in when I started at Napier, so I feel really happy being able to offer them support.