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Written by Karen September 6, 2013
The semester has officially begun, and for this particular Buckeye it’s been a bit of a rocky start. I’ve finally moved off campus and that itself is a huge time commitment. Oh you mean I have to go find furniture, set up my utilities and find time in the week to go grocery shopping? I’m just now adjusting to the idea of these added responsibilities. In combination with this I have also stepped into almost another universe within the university: grad school.
Last May I was accepted into a program where the History department allows me to finish my bachelor’s degree while also starting a master’s degree in Public History. This program was ideal for someone like me who came in with enough AP credit to graduate in three years (but didn’t want to graduate early, I mean I’m clearly not ready for the real world). Hopefully I will still finish in four years but, surprise!, with an extra degree. How cool is that?
I’ve been super excited for this program to start since I was accepted in May. For those who don’t know, Public History is essentially the study (and more often the application of) interpreting history for the public. This encompasses a lot of different fields, but for me it’s working in museums. All summer as I worked at Hale Farm all I could think was, wow I get to spend the next two years learning about this stuff and that is just fantastic.
But, let me tell you, the first day of grad school can be a little intimidating. I walked into class to see a group of adults dressed in business casual discussing W2 forms from the university. Let’s just take a second to break down the list of why exactly this made me nervous:
1) I was clearly the youngest person in the room.
2) I was wearing jean shorts and what I had thought was a nice shirt when I left the house that morning. Didn’t get the memo that we were supposed to be wearing such nice clothes. Not only was my age causing me to stick out like a sore thumb, but now this was really bad.
3) These students were talking about employment forms because they teach for Ohio State. Yes, that’s right. While I finish my bachelor’s degree it is very possible that some of my grad school classmates could be teaching me. What. Is. This.
But after class began, and my professor (the director of my program) acknowledged the presence of me and another combined degree student in the room, my differences were generally ignored. No one scoffed when I introduced myself and had barely any professional details or degrees to discuss. One student had even worked at the same place I interned at this summer. Discussion for the day began and when I spoke, I was listened to and spoken to like an equal scholar. Guys, grad school people are really nice!
There’s also some perks. Most of my classmates have already made a slight venture into the professional world and can offer a lot of great advice about what I need to do to prepare myself. I’m growing as a student and learning about how to excel in a grad program by dipping my toes in the water (step one, you can’t get away without doing the reading even though you’re reading a whole lot more.) Also my class only meets once a week so hello no class on Fridays!
After spending this summer with like-minded interns and now getting to spend one day a week with 7 other students who share my career desires I really feel like I’ve jumped into my field. I am a public historian and have merit as a professional. And that in itself is the best feeling as a college student. I now know that I definitely have a future in history.
P.S. As a public history student and museum lover, I’ve now been linked to this video twice. It’s pretty hilarious. Check it out!
Academics, Classes, The Future
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