Graduate school has been done for a little over a month now and I miss it. Yeah, I said it. I miss school. While some of the assignments could be annoying at times, I do miss the daily grind of getting them done. I miss the new friends that I made and chatting with professors in their office about the nerdiest of topics. I even miss working on my thesis, which much like childbirth nearly killed me to do, but whatever I did it. It is the longest thing I’ve ever written on a topic that I’m super passionate about (beauty products + magazines + black women) and here’s the official link to it, if you’d like to check it out: https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1505270/?q=Andrea%20Arterbery
I am hoping that I can make it into a book because I think it would be super interesting to interview people within the industry to get their thoughts and feels. Also, I feel like I’ve been working on it for so long that it would be great to update it with current beauty advertisements because I know that more changes have been made in this world that I wasn’t able to include in my thesis. Speaking of books, if you know me, you know that I am a voracious reader. Like, I really want to do in life is read. I probably should join a book club, but instead I’m just going to start using this space to post book reviews. Besides that and beauty products, what else do you need in life?! hahaha j/k but seriously going to do it, so stay tuned for some of that.
Anyways, I feel like graduate school is exactly what I needed to restart my brain. Living and working in Manhattan for 10 + years had me fried. Add being a single mom into the mix and there you have it: a hot, dusty, hulled-out mess. By the time I got to Dallas, I couldn’t do anything but take an extra-long nap and thank God that my son and I actually made the move in one piece. Of course, I was sad about leaving New York, but my determination to make a good life for myself and my son proved to be stronger. I let the sadness go and hit up a few old friends from my undergraduate years. One of them (hey Megan!), suggested that I do graduate school.
Returning to school was not something that initially crossed my mind at all, but the program at the Mayborn School of Journalism sounded awesome plus I was eligible for a scholarship that would pay for me to get it all completed. I also figured that getting a graduate degree would be a good thing for my son to see (because I’m always harping at him about the importance of education) so I applied. At first, it seemed weird because I never thought I’d be back in school ever again and there I was back on the same campus that I’d initially entered eons ago at the age of 18. Also, I was nervous about being in classes with people that were way younger than me because how could I even relate to any of these people who were born in the 90’s and would never get my joking references from said time period while chatting?! Ugh.
But, I kept showing up every day, determined to get the work done. Despite the age differences, I was able to make friends with lots of the other graduate students, including those way older than me. I will admit that it took me awhile to buck my Manhattan attitude. You know, that one that says “I’ve lived and worked in New York for 10 years, so what can you possibly teach me about [insert your topic of expertise here], sir/ma’am?” Turns out there were lots of things new things within the journalism world for me to learn about. One of my favorite classes centered around global journalism. I enjoyed learning how to write a literary analysis and writing in academic form proved to be a good challenge for me. I took a few sociology classes and found that I really enjoy learning and researching about the topics of race and gender.
Walking across the stage at graduation and then getting my degree later in the mail proved to be one of the most invigorating experiences of my life. All of my hard work (trust me when I say that is not easy going back to school with a kid in tow!) paid off and I’m so happy that I have this new life experience under my belt. Earning a graduate degree + watching my kid graduate from Kindergarten was exactly what I needed to jumpstart my fried-out brain. It gave me back a lot of the confidence in myself that I’d lost somewhere along the way while living in Manhattan. Also, it’s quite refreshing to have a new beginning. It also made me realize that no matter what happens, as long as I just keep writing, I’ll be ok. xo