I'm still getting used to my new schedule- of course. It's weird being up at 9 p.m. and not having to internally scold myself for doing so. After 3 years of working overnights and just a month (today) away from it, my body is still confused. Wow, I stopped working a month ago and it feels like a lifetime ago. My life has changed so much in the last 30 it's amazing. I left Pittsburgh and my dad, moved to Florida, got my first place by myself (dorms 4 years of undergrad not counted), secured an interview (Thursday) for a new job (hopefully reading to the blind-- yes it's a paid position which is AWESOME, hopefully well-paid but I'm guessing not), and working on my master's degree at the Docum.entary Institute at the University of Flo.rida (henceforth known as UF).
I never told you guys how I got here. About a year and a half ago on the young black journalists list serve I'm a part of, a call was sounded for black applicants to the journalism school at the Berk.eley (B from here on out). I hadn't taken the GRE so I couldn't apply but decided to start studying for it then so I could take it in the fall. I took it in October, didn't like my score. I took it again in December and the score was good enough for me! I got a 5 out of 6 on the first writing test which wasn't a surprise to me. I knew I killed it. They provide 4 topics and you select 2 to write from. One of the pieces I wrote was a persuasion about the need for morality in elected officials so a special shout-out to my news background and all the politicians with loose morals and shoddy ethics.
Prior to taking the GRE, I looked at other top 10 journalism programs in the nation outside of B and popular film schools. The only one I found with a film program focused on documentary but also with a journalism angle was at UF. Berkeley was my first choice mostly because I'd learned about it first and because the program was more established. I also liked their website better. I hate UF's website in general. Stacey remembers when I was looking at their program last fall. There are millions and millions of links which all lead you to the same place. Their webmaster is a link fiend and needs to get off the junk. I hate to be so harsh but honestly it doesn't take all of that to get an answer about where to apply. The main page is a nightmare then every single facet of every single school and department has its own page. More information needs to be in a central location. Anyway enough of that rant.
B's application was due December 1st. I got all my stuff in to them and just waited. I didn't want to apply to UF if I was getting in to B. No point. It was my first choice. I found out I got an interview and was ecstatic! It was with an alum who lived in Pittsburgh. He interviewed me and I took a writing test. He told me he would give me the highest possible score in the interview which I was very excited about! I didn't hear anything for a few days, then I went to Bible study. The pastor said if you want to prevent some headaches in your life you can ask God to close a door for you to keep you from going down that path. Right then and there I said, "God, if California is not where you want me, please don't allow me to get in to B."
That afternoon I got a call from one of the professors. He asked me if I would still be interested in coming if it wasn't in the documentary program. I said no. I was being honest. If I wanted to just do journalism I would stay in the job I already had. He said, "Okay, understandable, you made that pretty clear in your application, I just wanted to make sure. And I've really enjoyed your application." I said thanks and had no idea what that meant. I figured it could go either way. It could be taken as we're convinced she knows what she wants or we're not sure she'll fit in the documentary program but know she would be great in this school. That was a Tuesday. Thursday I learned I didn't get in.
I was surprisingly okay with it. Who knows what kind of heartache God spared me. Next I had to apply to UF but I was DRAGGING my feet. It was pretty bad. I knew the application wasn't due until June 1st even though they encouraged you to apply earlier because there were limited spaces. I waited until June 1st. I know! That's why I don't have any money from the school now! That and the ginormous budget cuts. The university gave the state back $67 million in the last 2 years... yeah. I'm sooo tired of hearing about the budget cuts. Can they give me back some money? I'm just sayin. Anyway you could fill out parts of the application then come back and complete it. I did that and partway through, I got an email saying they liked my application and were looking forward to the rest of it. I liked the feedback, but was wary of it, too. I got good feedback the last time. Once again, I asked God to close that door if that's a road I didn't need to go down. It was a bit more tentative, though. Along the lines of, "If you don't want me to take this path, close the door, God... I don't know what my next plan is for getting out of Pittsburgh, but I'll leave that up to you." Lol. Awful, I know.
Everyone said I would get in. Yeah yeah. Again. Heard this the last time. Obviously I did, though. I was ecstatic!!! I called my friends, sent emails, and ran screaming around the house! YEAH!!!! I GOT IN!! Then I took a closer look at the program side-by-side with B's program and found I liked the course work better. At UF, there are no crappy journalism courses I don't need, no statistics requirements, and every single course is geared toward the creation of a documentary. LOVE IT! My courses? Adore. I know I will learn a lot. I even like my textbooks! What a nerd! Lol. They're well-written, though and I'm paying enough for my education that I don't care what anyone thinks of me. I'm getting what I'm paying for and I'm gonna love it! GO GATORS!