Greetings! It has definitely been a jam-packed week (and weekend). Last weekend, I volunteered for Open House at Georgia Southern. Interesting enough, instead of helping to direct others, I directed myself to being helped by the professors that volunteered too. However, I will say that, because I had the closing time slot, there were fewer visitors, so that gave us free time to engage in small talk. Sometimes, it is funny how small talk leads to larger opportunities. It is really funny that I longed for more involvement and capacities to serve last semester. In this case, it was almost too much opportunity. Too much, too soon, if you will.
Model UN was one of the topics a professor, whom I had just met, mentioned. Representing a country, in a role play fashion, at the national level sounded exciting. If anything, the trip to New York City sounded magical. I looked beyond the aspect of giving speeches and educating myself on the elements of the country I (or the team...) would be assigned. I looked beyond the fact that Model UN assigns countries to participating teams in a wild card fashion. I looked beyond the fact the organization spanned beyond the realm of American Politics. I soared straight to cloud nine. Another professor offered to make me a teaching assistant, not responsible for grading or completing classwork, only to have access to the readings. The readings, she felt, would help my research project. And yet, another opportunity included an invitation to one of the national honor societies at Georgia Southern. Finally, I have had an internship in mind with the local US Representative since last semester.
What do you with that many opportunities? It seemed overwhelming. I felt utterly lost and confused at where to go, what to do, and how to choose the best and most beneficial decision for my career and educational goals (Goals...whatever those are these days! Ha!) I ended up scheduling an appointment with my honors professor immediately (Monday). Tuesday, literally thirty minutes before I was set to meet her, I came across the professor that mentioned Model UN, and he offered to introduce me to the Department Chair of Political Science and International Studies at Georgia Southern (!!!), who is also the Model UN director. Talk about spur of the moment, total coincidence, complete surprise, and unprepared for what to do and ask. That was me. To top it off, I was bare-eye-faced. AKA, no eye makeup! Yep, I looked like a washed-out zombie! Totally embarrassing, but I managed. In the meeting, I learned that Model UN was an investment. The rewards were great, but the costs would be taxing if I was not prepared and prompt with the coursework.
The impromptu meeting with the Model UN director and department chair had me ever more convinced that the meeting with my honors professor was dire. In that discussion, I presented my dilemma, and we slowly went through my options. The goal: to be active, not overwhelmed. She reminded me of where my career would begin: graduate school or law school. That eliminated Model UN, which deals with international relations. For the TA position, we both ruled it out for purposes I will not mention here (Long story.). She was not familiar with the honor society that I mentioned, but she recommended that I join another honor society, specific to political science, whose invitation would be sent at the end of the semester. Finally, the internship was complex. She felt that if I proceeded to show greater interest in graduate school, which as of late I have, it is best to focus on this ongoing research project (which I classify to be in the planning stages) to make it conference-ready. In other words, my research should be strong and concise enough to pass a conference's inspection. This is a terrifying thought. Imagine presenting in front of a group of professionals who have more knowledge and forethought on politics to completely question and destruct every aspect of your research. Currently, taking a breath... She also encouraged me to preserve my GPA and focus on earning a good score on the GRE. This places the internship on the back burner. Simmering, of course, but still behind other pressing matters.
She pointed out something interesting and realistic. To be honest, I knew this would be the case. She advised me to be realistic about applying to the top 20 schools for political science. Highly-ranked schools, she argued, view my institution with more disdain, and I completely understand. I am from a cut-rate school where individual talents are railroaded by the reputation and prestige of the school's name and rank. It is unfair, but sometimes, it happens. Ultimately, to even qualify for top institutions, you have to prove yourself through a high GRE score. Again, it makes sense. A high GPA and a college's low reputation could signal that classes were too easy, taught by satisfactory professors. A mediocre GPA and a college's high reputation could signal two things. One, that the applicant possesses superior talent to even be admitted by the undergrad institution. Two, the professors are of supreme intelligence and GPA is a reflection of rigor. For the thousandth time, I will keep my options open, both for law school and grad school.
Moving on, this might be the longest post ever so far. If you have read to this point, you are the coolest...ever. And, I will spare you from another long paragraph. By the time you read this, I will be in Walmart, grocery shopping! It is almost taboo for me to leave my room before it is time for class, but a grocery store with less people is always an enjoyable experience. After class, I am zooming home. I have a ton to do, so you know, it is a nose-in-book, eyes-on-screen kind of weekend! Have an awesome one!