I’m looking into Grad School (not sure if that needs to be capitalized, but it’s pretty major, so big letters, you are welcome in this post). And not just any Grad School, Northwestern University’s Medill – Journalism Master’s Program, a.k.a. the best journalism school in the country, a.k.a. my academic equivalent to a wet dream. I would give anything to go there (and may have to, because I’m not totally sure how (un)qualified I am to get in…). I wanted to get my Bachelor’s there, but didn’t bother applying because of finances and the just-mentioned doubt of admission.
The way that it seems to work is: you go there, you get a job. Anywhere. Period. So the carrot dangling in my face is looking pretty tasty after the seven-year fast I’ve self inflicted since finishing my undergrad. And they are going to wonder about that (I know because I asked). Why Medill (and that question warrants a big ole ‘DUH!’), but, more scarily, why NOW? And the answer to that question is much more complex…
What have I been doing the last seven years. you ask? I ask myself that, too, all too often recently. The more rapidly I catapult towards 30, the more reflection (and inevitable disappointment) I am faced with. Let’s look back… I graduated in December of 2005. Following that I wrote freelance for a local crunchy publication and loved it – learned all kinds of cool stuff about international farming organizations, alternative medicine, sperm banks (I jumped on that assignment, believe you me, and it is not like anything you see in the movies. Go figure!). I did a season’s review of Dancing With the Stars (thanks to my more affluent journalistic friend who works now for Glamour). Most recently I was accepted to write for a sports website and wrote a smashing review regarding a baseball player I neither know too much, nor care too much (he’s not a Brewer), about. And there’s this stellar blog that I pour so much of my time and effort into… (*cringe*)
So why the hemming and hawing? Why wait until now? Quite simply, I am no longer qualified to do anything. My degree focused solely on the writing aspect of journalism, with no dips into any of the other jars – marketing, PR, advertising, broadcast… the list really does go on and on. And Medill offers all of it, specialized and fast-paced. You get to sample all the flavors, create your own delicious, super smart sundae and come out a seasoned professional that real media institutions actually want to hire. So there’s that. And then there are the emotional, personal, no-one’s-problem-or-fault-but-my-own reasons.
I wanted to move away after school. Got close a time or two. Quit my then-serving job thinking I would pack up my shit and follow my dream of spreading news and awareness and importance to others. So I lived at home to save up, didn’t want to get involved in a lease of any sort that would hinder my get-up-and-go opportunity. Eventually I moved out on my own, near home, and started the process of learning that my education essentially meant nothing anymore.
At this point I couldn’t (didn’t want to) be too far from home for one very special, most important reason that I will inevitably have to divulge to the not-necessary-but-in-your-case-you-probably-should-have-one interview to explain the seven-year-gap in my educational resume and why I never really, truly pursued anything until now. And now, I have no choice but this. And, luckily, this is what I truly want.