Maddie Goes Back to School
For all of you that have been listening the last few days, you probably know I'm a tad nervous about being back in the college classroom after a year off.
I graduated with my BS in Journalism in April 2016 - that's over a year ago. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get used to the whole no homework, sleeping in (until I took this job) era that happens after graduating. I was super proud of myself for all I accomplished as an undergrad, but I knew in my heart I craved something bigger than what I was getting with my Bachelor's.
So, I enrolled back in school over the summer. Everyone told me I was crazy. They said it'd be tough, and so far they're not wrong. I went in last night with little expectations and even less experience on how a typical grad school class would play out. I've decided to share with you the top five things that ran across my mind when sitting in COMM 621.
1. What really IS Public Relations?
Now, I'm enrolled in the MAC (Master of Arts in Communications) program at USI, but communications is a lot different than Journalism. I went with the communications program because it was a little more broad than journalism and I wasn't exactly sure where I wanted to end up after all this. My long-term goal is to become a professor, but as far as what I want to teach, I'm indecisive. I learned quickly I was out of my league as almost everyone had previous PR experience.
2. A case study? What?
To top off my confusion on what exactly Public Relations consists of, the professor and students started throwing around terms I had never even heard of. Case study? Publics? What does it all mean? I mean I'm sure I'll find out eventually, but it was pretty clear that everyone else had a leg up on me here.
3. Am I finally the young one in the classroom?
I've always been a tad older than the rest of my peers as far as typical grade range is concerned. My birthday is in May, which always meant I had the last birthday of the year, but was always nearly 6-12 months older than my peers. I didn't get held back or anything, if that's what you're thinking, but I got used to being the oldest in the classroom. I got my license first, got my tattoos first, etc... In COMM 621, I was the baby. The tables had turned. There were people in there planning their weddings (cough, cough, Kent), others had traveled across the globe, and there were even former professors of mine in the class. Needless to say, I was the youngin' of the bunch...and the only one in there experiencing their first grad school class.
4. The rest of campus consists of literal infants.
Now, while I felt young and inexperienced in the classroom, walking around the campus itself made me feel like a grandma. I got in a quick lift in the REC before class and realized I was literally years and years older than some of the people I crossed paths with. I couldn't believe all the baby faces I saw. Then it dawned on me...when I walked in COMM 621, people probably thought the same thing about me. Maybe not. I am 24, you know, so I feel like at that point we're all pretty well adults and treat one another as such.
5. Do people know me?
Of course, like every class I've ever taken since literal elementary school, we had to do the good 'ol "ice breaker". I don't mind doing the exercises because it usually takes a serious effort to get me to speak up, but I find it slightly intimidating. However, when the time came to introduce myself, my "partner" had to do it for me. Basically, you exchange conversation and facts about yourself to the person you're paired with and then they introduce you to the class. Obviously, I mentioned that I work for the greatest radio station in town, so my partner relayed the message. I guess I expected maybe a couple people to be listeners of the show, but turns out there was a bit of excitement in the crowd following that tidbit of information. I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel good to hear people share how they listened to me that morning, but The Rob said that'll wear off the more seasoned I get.
I have my second grad school class tonight, so hopefully I can sign some more autographs then (kidding). Until then, feel free to fill me in on exactly what PR is and how I can "case study".