I am guaranteed an income, health insurance, and free tuition for at least the next two years, while I get my Master's (M.A.) degree. The U of M's Communication Studies Department is not technically a feeder program (meaning, just because you get your M.A. there doesn't necessarily mean you're a shoe-in for their Ph.D. program), but I'm really excited to join the U's program, and would like to continue there. So, barring any extreme fuck-ups, I will hopefully have that guaranteed income, health insurance, and free tuition for six years.
Like I said, I will have an income. What does that mean? Well, I'll be a salaried employee (the salary would equal approximately $18.52 an hour, if it was an hourly position)--more specifically, a part-time ("junior") faculty member at the U, teaching or acting as a teaching assistant for mainly public speaking courses.
I will also have health insurance. I don't know what else to say about this, other than I feel extremely lucky to have gotten a job that will give me benefits. I know a lot of peers who still worry about that sort of thing.
I will also not pay a dime in tuition to get my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. I'll still have to pay some fees (couple hundred dollars worth a semester, I think), and buy textbooks, but in the grand scheme of things, paying even $1000 a year to get a terminal degree is SO worth it.
I'll be going for Communication Studies, concentrating in Critical Media Studies (URGO peeps, think Stuart Hall).
Well, there's most of the technical stuff you'll need to know. Emotionally? When I found out, I started screaming. Then I cried a little. The I screamed for another fifteen minutes or so (I also ran out into the quad and Bob Groven hugged me). Then, I basically went into shock, and totally lost it when I got home. The stress of wanting to get into grad school so badly and not knowing if I would was one of the worst things I've ever had to deal with. I had nightmares about getting rejection letters for several months. Even though getting that acceptance email was a positive experience, it was still stressful. By now, though, the only feelings I have are feelings of excitement. I can't WAIT to start teaching! And I already feel so welcome at the U (the Chair and I have been emailing back and forth about various things, including his daughter's newfound fascination with Japanese culture, and if I have any manga suggestions for her!). My family and friends have all been appropriately happy for me, and last weekend, a bunch of us went out for drinks at Sgt. Preston's. We walked back to Augsburg, through the U's campus, around midnight, yelling and singing (there were several renditions of "For (S)he's a Jolly Good Fellow"). People carried me (not because they had to, but because we were all so happy). It was seriously fucking magical. And now that I think about it, I couldn't ask for better friends. :)
I'm leaving Augsburg for the final time as an undergraduate student this May, but I'll never forget the support the people here have given me. Someday, I'll figure out a way to thank you all individually, but for now, this blog post will have to do. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for writing letters of recommendation, giving me high-fives, letting me miss class so I could visit the U, making me dinner (we be makin' da pancakes), giving me incredible opportunities to work and do research for pay, backing me up when I decided I wanted to study video games and "gay porn manga," organizing the office to surprise me on my birthday, spending ungodly amounts of money on homemade past and delicious salad, sitting with me at Hard Times, throwing me a Pokemon party, taking care of me when I was sick, and for everything else. I LOVE YOU ALL! And stay tuned, even after graduation in May, as I detail to you all my next big adventure: Teaching and getting my Master's at the University of Minnesota!
The Weisman Art Museum (above), over on the U's East Bank, where Ford Hall (below) and the Communication Studies Department, are located.
And I get to stay in beautiful Minneapolis, "City of Lakes," the U.S.'s most literate city, with more theaters per capita than any other city outside of NYC, home to Minnehaha and St. Anthony Falls, and the country's highest percentage of volunteers.
I LOVE AUGSBURG. I LOVE THE U OF M. AND I LOVE MINNEAPOLIS!
Peace out, yo.