Wrapping it All Up…

Posted: April 22, 2012 in Personal
Tags: , , , ,

As I bid adieu to Tuscaloosa and all its memories, challenges, and triumphs, I thought I’d wrap up my experience here.  I can’t promise a big, beautiful shiny bow on top, but I can be honest.  Hopefully, this post will be a gift for a prospective student or someone interested in pursuing graduate studies here at the University of Alabama.

The hardest thing has been going from being the majority to the minority, as my undergraduate institution was a Historical Black College & University (HBCU).  With all that being said, it’s opened my eyes and experiences to new people that may not be African-American but that share similar interests and goals as me. Socially, I had to get use to a different world where people actually care about football, where people go to “bars” and not nightclubs that require a dress code and cover, and where the Greek life is nothing like that of the “Divine Nine” at HBCU’s.  It’s a different world here, but I have enjoyed every second of it. I love the restaurants and the faith and hope of the people here that lost everything to the April 27 tornado disaster.  There’s a true community spirit here that I can take with me as I journey on.

I guess I should be scholarly and discuss the pros and cons of going back to graduate school at 26. I made the decision because I don’t have an academic background in journalism.  I learned about journalism on the job working for magazines.  When I graduated in 2008, journalism was just on the cusp of the digital convergence and economic downturn.  If I was going to compete with the digital natives and younger kiddos, I had to learn multimedia and practical skills.  The passion, writing, and storytelling were there, but I had to figure out how to employ those skills digitally.

So, if you’re in my same boat, I’d suggest going back to school and sharpening those skills and learning about the industry.  If not, graduate school is hard work, and you have to truly want to succeed or it will swallow you whole.  Trust me, there have been moments where I thought I’d be dinner.  I’ve questioned my sanity almost a thousand times.  But at the end of the day, I’m happy with my decision and I’ve learned more than I ever expected.  I feel like I have a true testimony that I made it through, and with new skills to add to my resume and stellar grades might I add.

I’ve learned so much from my peers, listening to their opinions and arguments weekly have forced me to see things in different ways.  Constantly surrounded by a group that’s younger than me has restored my hunger and passion for this industry.  It’s been great getting to know everyone, and I’ve grown so much as a woman, student, daughter, and friend in just under a year. I’ll always be grateful to the people of Juanita Drive for sharing their stories for my website.  I am humbled by Tuscaloosa magazine giving me the chance to write and explore things that interest me (and paying me for it). I feel so blessed to have my words hanging on the walls of local restaurants, in the hands of brides planning their upcoming weddings, and on the Web for the students at the University of Alabama courtesy of Her Campus Alabama.

I’ll miss Tuscaloosa for a lot of things, but honestly, I’m ready for a new experience in a bigger city.  I belong in the city.  While I won’t miss writing papers, giving presentations, or reading tons of academic literature, the things I’ve achieved in just  a short amount of time are unreal.  This time last year, I was calling delinquent accounts.  In a few months, I’ll be graduating.  I’ll be reminiscing on all these things as I watch Tuscaloosa disappear in my rear view mirror tomorrow for the last and final time.  Goodbye Tuscaloosa.  Hello to new opportunities because of you!

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