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 I  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. ❤

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I Visited Cleveland City Hall Last Month And It Was Awesome!


A trip to City Hall may not seem like a fun way to spend an afternoon but with my new found passion for government, I was stoked to be there.

I reached out to a family friend, Councilman Zachary Reed of Cleveland’s Ward 2, because my good friend, Deemyi, needed to interview a local political figure for a class assignment. I also wanted to pick his brain a little since I’m looking into a Master’s in Political Science. He, luckily, got back to me that same day and scheduled a meeting with us at the end of March. Deemyi and I were so excited and so grateful.

We took a half-day from work, we’re co-workers as well, and walked over to City Hall in the rain. It was well worth the short, rainy journey as we got a lot of great content and we even ran into Mayor Frank Jackson.

Deemyi is currently studying to obtain her Master’s Degree in Health Education and Promotion. She asked Zachary about his thoughts on the HR 610 bill sponsored by Republican Congressman, Steve King. According to the official Congress website, “The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA’s geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.”

Furthermore, unfortunately, “the bill repeals a specified rule that established certain nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs,” Congress.gov explains. This rule HR 610 would “repeal requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in school meals; and meet children’s nutritional needs within their caloric requirements”. Deemyi does not support the bill for obvious reasons.

Councilman Reed, explained that the he and his colleagues wouldn’t actually be initially involved in finding solutions for the bill if it were to pass. In Cleveland, the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District would be more involved than he would, personally, but he did mention his preference on the reach of the vouchers. He would prefer the vouchers be valid not only in private schools or for home schooling but in public schools in surrounding suburbs as well.

He then went on to talk about the importance of ensuring that every child is fed a nutritious meal during school hours as that could be their only balanced meal they receive that day due to their potential situations at home. He discussed after school programs and initiatives that even go as far as feeding some children dinner before they return home. I couldn’t help but feel sad that our federal government would want to take that away. Why? Because they personally have never experienced going without nor will their own children ever go without so, they just don’t care? That’s really upsetting.

I enjoyed listening to Deemyi and Zachary talk back and forth as it was a learning experience for me. I gained more understanding on the bill and had a chance to see how passionate they both are about children having access to a great education and the resources needed for healthy living.

A younger gentleman popped his head in the office we were talking in and invited the Councilman into a conference room to speak to a group of elementary students. Zachary and I still had a few things to discuss so he invited us to tag along with him to see the students. The kids were so excited to see him and he spoke to them with such kindness.

Mayor Frank Jackson walked into the conference room to speak to the children too. He took a few moments to speak with Deemyi, Zachary and I and even took photos with us. He expressed his concerns with HR 610, which was awesome for Deemyi to get a statement from the mayor for her assignment as well. He was friendly and so willing to chat with us.

On our way out, Councilman Reed gave me some much needed advice about my possible future in political science. He told me to focus on the issues are important to me and find a way to get involved. He said that people typically get into political science because they see a need for policy changes and want to help make those changes happen. I got to thinking and he was definitely right. With PoliSci, it’s not really a traditional career path where you start at the bottom and work your way up. It’s different than that and almost more difficult. I have a lot of planning and thinking to do but I haven’t even gotten through my prerequisites yet so I have plenty of time to find my purpose.

Councilman Reed formally announced that he is throwing his hat into the Cleveland mayoral race just yesterday! As he’s been a friend of the family since I was a child, I couldn’t be more proud of him and am ecstatic for his new journey. Mayor Frank Jackson is also running for re-election. I wish them both the best of luck! May the best man win! ❤

Thank you, Councilman Reed and Mayor Jackson for your time and your insight. Deemyi and I appreciate it more than you know.

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Zachary mailed me signed copies of our photos!

-D.O. ❤

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

Kudos to those who get my Kanye reference! ❤

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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 🙂

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 🙂 )

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

-D.O. ❤