From a very young age my mother taught me that school was not an option and I was not supposed to stop going to school until I received my Master’s Degree. Of course at 5 years old, I didn’t know what any of that meant, but as I grew up I figured it out. See, I was always a nerd. I always liked school, I was always getting good grades and I never missed a day. My mother on the other hand hated school. She was fine until she had to move in the middle of her middle school career. She didn’t like anyone in the neighborhood and she had to go to school with them, so that was a recipe for disaster. She finished high school in the summer and enrolled in Brooklyn College, only to only attend for a semester before she dropped out. Later on she would go to LIM to study fashion merchandising, but that didn’t last very long either. Eventually she settled down and worked for the city.
My mom is what you would call a tiger mom. She was always on my ass about keeping my grades up and not getting distracted by anyone or anything and if I was to be distracted that thing or that person had to go. I always joke about how I didn’t have much of a childhood because I was either in school, at dance or at a piano lesson. All of that set me up for my future.
Fast forward to college. I knew that I was eventually going to apply to grad school. I didn’t know where or what program I was going to be interested in, but I knew I was going. I started out my undergraduate career as an American History major and by the time the second semester of my Junior year came around, I was a Journalism major.
Journalism always had my heart and I don’t know why I didn’t change my major before I had three semesters left in undergraduate. Anyhow, I thought to myself, “Do I really want a Master’s in Journalism?” The answer would be hell yes because the field is always changing and what I learned in undergrad wasn’t going to be enough in the ever-changing world of journalism.
Although I wasn’t a major, I was included in the journalism program. At this point I was Podium Perspective director, a word on the street type column, and I was a contributing writer for the Arts and Entertainment section. Also, I had gotten involved with Her Campus Albany chapter as a writer for the Student Life and Music sections. So, I had my experiences in journalism. I wasn’t worried about that in terms of experience to possible grad schools.
The summer before senior year I had to make my decisions on where I wanted to apply. I narrowed it down to four schools. Boston University, NYU, Newhouse at Syracuse and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Each school had something that I wanted and it was a dream to have gotten into any.
When I was in high school, teachers would say how hard it was to get into graduate school and the same thing echoed in undergraduate. I was scared. There were so many things that I had to do just to apply. There were application fees, letters of recommendation, essays on essays on essays, portfolios, interviews and the GRE. I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy my senior year because applying to school was a priority as well as my regular classes and work. Looking back now, I really didn’t eat or sleep for days because I wanted everything to be perfect and I wanted to get in to every school.
I was finished with the process in December right before Christmas. I didn’t enjoy the holiday because I was worried with how everything was going to turn out. My nerves didn’t calm down until I went back to school for my last semester. One day on a trip to Walmart with my roommates, I checked my email to find an acceptance letter from Boston University. I screamed on the bus, excited at the possibility of living in another state away from the hassle of my home life.
About two weeks had passed and I was anxiously waiting for the other acceptances to come in. Just as I was starting to get worried, NYU dropped an email in my inbox. ANOTHER ONE. I was so excited because NYU was one of those “let me see if I can get in” schools. Also, the program I was accepted to is very competitive, they only accept about 15 people.
A month had passed and by this time the seniority’s had set in, but I still had to hear from two schools. Finally, while I was at work I decided to go to the backroom and check my emails. Sure enough I was accepted into the two programs at Newhouse that I applied to. I was beyond excited. I realized that I had options which is what I wanted all along.
Lastly, while I was on Spring Break and in the car with my mother, I decided to check my email. Sure enough, I received that last acceptance from CUNY J School.
All. Four. Schools. I have EVERY right to be proud of all my hard work because those sleepless nights, eat-less days, cartoon-less Saturdays and party-less weekends paid off.