Well Friends here I am, almost 12 years later in Cheney WA. I started this journey in November 2004. What is there to say about this journey? I am sure I could write a book about what it has been. From moving 2,300+ Miles to WA state on my own for a job at EWU to dealing with major sickness on my own, navigating life as an adult, or even finding my love for art.
This journey started as one that, out the gate did not go as planned. I planned on spending 3 years 5 years tops at EWU and again here I am almost 12 years later. A part of that 3 year plan was to go to graduate school so that I could be taken seriously as a student affairs professional and because that is just what you do. Well I learned that getting into graduate school would not be an easy fete and I was also turned off by the attitudes that I perceived as "in order to do the work I do I must have a degree." I was also turned off by the way I felt I was treated sometimes because I did not have that advanced degree. So in true me fashion, I refused to go back to school. I wanted to prove that I could do this work without a degree. Also in that reasoning was a myriad of reasons and justifications why I would put off or not even go back to school. "I want to go for something I am passionate about" I don't want to waste time on some random major" " I don't need a degree" I can go on with more reasons why not to but I want to talk about my reasoning for why I chose to do it and how I am where I am today!
I chose to do it for me. I was afraid, I was even rejected several times before I would be a candidate for a Masters Program. I was told...
"Dear Ms. Jackson,
Regarding your letter requesting reconsideration of the decision to deny admission the EWU's MPA program, I am sorry, but I cannot find a way to read your transcript that gives me reason to think you can succeed in a graduate program. Your overall gpa in your bachelor's degree was 2.3. The last half of that program was also 2.3. The gpa in your major also does not reach 3.0.
We do have a policy allowing admission based on professional experience, but it requires 10 years of professional experience to qualify for consideration and you (by your own description) have only five.
I suppose you could go back to undergraduate school and improve your grade point average, but that is the only suggestion I have for how you might become admissible.
Again, I am sorry to reach this conclusion, but it seems to me to be the correct one."
While I am the first to admit that I did not do very well in my undergrad and I am not proud of the grade I pulled then. But their response was... I don't know a little rude. I own that I was a sub par student. I mean I graduated in 4 years right? However I was hopeful that as a professional that there would be someway for me to get into graduate school. With a crushed spirit and the negative thoughts (not good enough, not smart enough, out of my league) and negative self esteem about they type of student I was, i became certain that I would not get my masters.
Fast forward to 2014 when I realized I was really wanting to move up in my chosen field, I learned through applying for jobs that even with 10 years of experience I was not going to move up without that Masters. So I started talking to folks, I talked myself in and out of why I should and should not go back to school . With the help of great mentors and some encouragement I got serious about it and took the change. I get teary eyed thinking about 1. This overall journey but 2. that there were people outside of my family and friends who believe in me, even though I did not at all believe in myself in regards to getting a Masters Degree. I am so extremely grateful for the push and the help from those mentors. I do not know that they will ever know how much it means to me.
In 2014 I started taking courses towards the degree and on September 14th I was officially a graduate student! I did the GRE, I got the transcripts, I got the courses together and created a program (with the help of my advisor). All the things were road blocks and I did it! I have taken the classes which brings me to today.
Fall 2016 with a blank page staring at me waiting for my words and research. The Thesis: this is is the last stop on this particular journey.
I chose this journey for me! I know that I can do it, I am capable, competent and intelligent. I am a decent writer and I enjoy figuring out the why. As I work on my Thesis I will try to get out of it, negative voice will creep in, reasons for why not will be a plenty. However if I know anything about myself is that I am persistent and enjoy a challenge even when I whine and try to get out when met with difficulty and fear.
This is me being vulnerable to the process. I will be posting weekly updates on the work I have done so far. Hopefully I can get feedback, encouragement, resources and most of all accountability. So join me on this next part of my journey! Feel free to watch from afar or closely, or not at all.