I’m Officially A Viking

Does anyone need a GRE study book because… I DON’T NEED MINE ANYMORE! I was officially accepted into the Master of Public Administration program at Cleveland State University (CSU).

Some of you may know that I was taking graduate school classes last year. I was advised to take a few courses as a non-degree seeking student to see if I liked the program and also to see how I’d perform. I did two non-degree semesters, two classes each, and IĀ  LOVED them! I managed to end with a 3.75 GPA, which confirmed that I should definitely apply for degree seeking status.

To be extremely candid with you all, my undergraduate GPA was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! I did just enough to graduate. Which, unless you plan on going to graduate school or entering a program like Teach for America, is completely acceptable. This was a roadblock for me, though, because nine years after undergrad, I wanted to go to graduate school. This meant that I absolutely needed to score well on my GRE if I wanted to get in.

The GRE has three sections, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing. This test is hard to study for, to be quite honest. I used the GRE study book to teach me tactics and vocabulary. It showed me exactly what to look for when reading a passage and answering the multiple choice questions. I listened to vocabulary podcasts to and from work, which is a debatable use of effective study time because I do not believe I saw any of the words on the actual test, but you never know what you’ll get. One thing I knew for sure is that I would still struggle taking this exam regardless what I did to prepare.

Now, I’m not very good at math so I knew that the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the GRE would be my lowest score. I took the advice of one of the staff at CSU. She said to take my statistics (stats) classes first, during non-degree, because students sometimes prolong graduation because they save the stats classes for last and cannot move forward. I took both of the stats courses that I needed prior to taking the GRE and aced them! I think this helped to balance my GRE score, allowing me to be admitted in the end. For anyone looking to apply to graduate school and may in the same boat as I was, I highly suggest going this route and getting the more difficult classes out of the way. I can be a procrastinator at times but in this case, I’m glad I fought the urge to wait on it.

As I was driving to the GRE test, I had a talk with myself. I literally said out loud, “Daisha, you will not know all of the answers so, do not freak out when you have to guess.” This actually helped to ease my mind during the test because I already had it set in my mind that my score will not be perfect and I will just have to pick an answer regardless if I knew it or not. You get your scores before you leave, with the exception of the Analytical Writing section since someone has to actually read it before it’s graded. I was semi-pleased with my scores but that did not stop me from stalking the CSU website for my acceptance or rejection for the next two weeks.

CSU is so amazing because they actually called me when a decision was made. I was so excited to get the call that I was accepted and I really appreciated the personal touch of hearing it over the phone. A couple of days later, I received my official acceptance letter. It felt so good to see it in writing!

I start classes next month and I am SO EXCITED! I actually look forward to hanging out at the coffee shop all day, doing research and writing papers, sitting in class with my new peers, having discussions and just overall using my brain a lot more than usual. What I am most looking forward to is walking across the stage in my cap and gown, showing my son how important higher education is.

I will definitely write more blogs about my graduate school experience and post vlogs on my YouTube channel. However, if any of you are thinking about graduate school or even undergrad, please reach out, I would love to connect with you all on any questions you may have. ā¤

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“Why you call it Late Registration? Cause we takin these muh’f*ckers back to school”

Kudos to those who get my Kanye reference! ā¤

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Me in Clark Kent Mode

Anyway, I’m going back to school! Attaining a Master’s Degree is something that has always been a goal of mine but I was never sure of what my concentration would be. I thought about Journalism or English. I definitely have a passion for writing but didn’t really see the value as my undergrad is enough to pursue a career in those areas. An MBA has much value but my heart isn’t in the subject of just strictly Business. I knew I wouldn’t perform well. I hit a road block. Without knowing what my concentration would be, there was no way to move forward.

It finally hit me after this very confusing election, Political Science!

Now, this does not mean that I’m knowledgeable in the subject but I find myself wanting to know and understand more. We had a huge problem this election year with propaganda which led to misinformation and ignorance in American voters. As awful and confusing as this was, it inspired me. I want to be a resource to people who are looking for facts.

I want to do that in a couple of different ways;

  • Freelance Writing. I never thought Political Journalism would be something I’d want to do. I always thought I’d focus on fashion, beauty and entertainment. I’ll still write about these subjects on my personal blog, of course, but I’m definitely striving to also be a contributor for a political publication.
  • Teach Poli Sci courses. I’d like to teach students while they’re young, high school age to freshmen/sophomores in college. They’re either about to hit voting age or between 18 and 19. I want to influence young voters to think for themselves and research facts prior to casting their votes. I’ll need my PhD to become a professor and a teaching license to teach a high school class so, more and more school is on the road ahead.

Now that I’ve decided on a concentration and possible career paths, a few things need to happen before I even start;

  1. I have to take both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics as they’re prerequisites for the Master of Arts in Global Interactions (MAGI) program at my college of choice. MAGI is their version of Political Science. (I took both economics courses in my undergrad but we’re not even going to talk about what grades I received lol. I was more of a Communications course type of gal!) So, this will be round two for me. I just enrolled in Micro and will start January 17th!
  2. Cross reference the classes I took in my undergrad to make sure I have all other prerequisites. Literally crossing my fingers that I do or else I’ll have more classes to take before I start.
  3. Take the GRE and score in 50th percentile or above. I just got my Kaplan study guide and will be cracking that puppy open very shortly. It’s huge and overwhelming but I’m ready for the challenge.

I’m so excited to get going on this very big goal. I’m nervous as well but I know all of the hard work and stress will be worth it. There are quite a few female politicians right now along with Hillary Clinton, of course, that are so inspiring to me. Politics is male dominated and not to mention, lacking diversity. As a minority woman, I’m excited to add to that diversity. You might not see me running for any political office but hopefully you’ll see my words published and my name on a class schedule šŸ™‚

My experience in deciding to go back to school is proof that it’s never too late. I graduated college in 2009 and here I am stepping back into the classroom setting. If you’ve been wanting to go back to school and aren’t so sure or may feel discouraged, please do not hold yourself back or stand in your own way. You can definitely do it! “Better late than never, it’s orien-tation!” (More Kanye šŸ™‚ )

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me (My customer service attitude is showing there šŸ˜‰ ) Or, If you want to share your back-to-school story and/or any advice, I’d love to hear from you.

-D.O. ā¤

 

 

PSA: Don’t Rush to Grow Up

Because adulting is hard.

I remember impatiently seeking independence when I was a teenager. I wanted to do whatever I wanted, have a career and be a grown up. Back then, parents just didn’t understand and I was tired of being told what to do. At this point though, I’m realizing that I had it so easy. My parents only wanted what was best for me and I had zero responsibilities. My best advice is to stay a kid as long as possible.

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Photo via weheartit.com
Now, once you’re about 25, I think it might be time to get it together but before then I’ll give you a pass to get your Peter Pan on!

Do these five things and I promise you’ll be virtually stress free.

1.Live at home for a while

Unless you’re in college and live on campus, the parentals are the best roomies you can have. Living with them may not be completely free but it’s dirt cheap compared to living on your own. The downside, of course, is the lack of privacy, but after dishing out your hard earned dollars to rent, utilities, groceries furniture and decor, you’ll be wishing your mom was still walking into your room without knocking.

Don’t forget to save money while you’re there. Shop smart and load up your savings account. The money you stack up could go to tuition, a spring break trip or even pay for things you’ll need when you are ready to move out.

2.Remember that it’s okay to be single

A wise cop in Cottondale, Florida once said, “the boys and the beach are still going to be there whether you go 99 or 25.” He was definitely referring to the fact that we were speeding down the road to get to spring break in Panama City, however, I think it’s a relevant statement. There will always be boys. Don’t speed up the process. Do you. Experience things, focus on school and start building the foundation for a promising future.

My brother used to tell me, “you haven’t even met everyone you’re going to meet in your life.” If you’re single right now, it’s likely that you may not have met the right person yet. There’s about 8 billion people in this world so, that fuckboy that screwed you over is literally the least of your problems.

Don’t rush into something just because you feel lonely or because all your friends are dating. Just chill. I’ve seen a lot of relationships around me come to an end due to infidelity or because one of the two parties felt as though they didn’t experience enough in life to make a commitment. Stay single, date around, go on vacations and don’t let a relationship hold you back from doing anything. Get serious with someone when you see real potential for a great future with them. Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s.

3.Don’t stop doing things you love

I know once you hit college age, parties, date nights and clubbing will be your activities of choice, but don’t neglect your old hobbies. Go rollerblading, ride bikes, play Mario Kart or go cosmic bowling. I’m 30 years old and I wish I was laser tagging right this very moment. You’re not “too cool” to do any of these things. If anything, you’ll start a trend.Go against the grain. Once people start seeing you snapping from the skating rink, you’ll see more and more people there each time you go. You’ll also notice that you’ll have less drama. Let’s just be honest, nothing good comes from binge drinking. You spend all your money, text the wrong boys and get involved in stupid girl fights. Complete and utter waste of time and money.

4.Drive your first car until the wheels fall off

“According to Edmunds.com, the average monthly payment on a new vehicle is $479.” Sheesh! That’s a lot of money. For a used car, it may be around $200, but nevertheless, saving up a few thousand dollars for a car would be most ideal. The car would be fully paid off so you wont have a monthly payment and you’re not obligated to pay for full coverage insurance.

The key to keeping stress down is to eliminate as many monthly obligations as possible. Behind having an apartment, this is the second most expensive bill to have so cutting this will do wonders for your bank account.

5.Have sleepovers

Throw on your cutest jammies, rent a chick flick and spend a night in with your girls. Put away your fake IDs for the night and tell the boys you’re busy! Catch up with your friends, play board games, order take out and stay up late. Don’t take these moments for granted because once everyone gets married and has kids, sleepovers will be non-existent.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother and a wife. I’m so excited to enter into my 30’s and am fully embracing being a grown woman. However, the ages between 15 and 25 are irreplaceable years. This is your time to live it up, be carefree and make mistakes. I look back at these years and get so giddy about the experiences I’ve had during that time, even the embarrassing moments.

It all comes down to living in the now, not stressing about tomorrow and saving money whenever you can. Before you know it, you’ll be in your late 20’s wondering why life is flying by so quickly. The days are already coming and going at a rapid pace, there’s no need to hit the fast forward button.

-D.O. ā¤