I don’t normally do well with new things.
I adapt, eventually, but I often have a lot of anxiety going into the situation.
Today, my first day of grad school at Montclair State University, was no different.
I worked today, as I often do on Wednesdays, and I decided to leave at 4 (even though my class doesn’t start until 5:30) so I’d be able to park, find my class building, and get some food. It’s a good thing I budgeted as much time as I did; even though the drive from Livingston to Montclair is only about eight miles, it took me over a half hour to get there. Parking wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be — I got a permit for the parking deck, and after driving up to the fourth level, it was easy to find a space.
Next step: find the classroom building. This proved to be much easier than I thought, as it was right around the corner from the parking deck. I had some time, so I ran over to the student center to get some food. I was, of course, the first person to get to class, but as the other students filtered in and we made conversation, my anxiety eased up.
During my undergrad, I had the opportunity to meet people from all different backgrounds and lifestyles. But this one class alone is extremely diverse. We range from 22 and 23 year olds just out of our undergrads to students in their 30s who are married with children. Some of us majored in communications as undergrads, but most did not. I was nervous about not having the comm background, but after meeting other students who were in the same boat, I realized that graduate school is a clean slate. It doesn’t matter so much what you did in your undergrad; if you’re driven and ready to learn and work hard, you can succeed.
Our professor had us talking to each other and truly communicating throughout the class period. We started by milling around the room making small talk. Then he had us answer some questions on an index card and use those answers to introduce ourselves to the class. I hadn’t really put much thought into why specifically I wanted to be in grad school — and even more specifically, the Public and Organizational Relations program at MSU — but I found the answers came effortlessly. I learned a lot about myself, and about those around me, in the first hour of class.
The professor gave us an overview of our field, as well as an overview of the class. Any and all nerves I had dissipated rather quickly. He made us feel comfortable and it was really a lot of fun. Coming up this semester, I get to complete a APA workbook, write a 20 page paper about a topic of interest relating to the comm field to submit to a conference, and work collaboratively on reports about current media trends. I’m really looking forward to all of it.
So, there’s my first day as a grad student; it was, overall, pretty uneventful, but it made me realize that I have nothing to be nervous about. I’m eager to learn, and excited to see what my other two classes (which start next week) will have to offer.
And now, off to watch a couple of episodes of Once Upon a Time to unwind… then tomorrow, I have my Disney interview! 🙂