Ramblings of a Classroom Deprived Twenty-Something

Like so many of my peers, I have grad school on my mind. For those of you who know me well, I've always loved being a student. Not only that, I was good at it. I thrived when placed in the classroom setting with an engaging and thought provoking professor and peers as eager to soak in new knowledge as me. And while not as equally enjoyable, I even thrived in classrooms that required a venti caramel macchiato and binoculars to see the obsolete slides on the front projector.

Needless to say, the idea of going to grad school is an exciting one for me. And while I'm not silly enough to simply enroll in a program just for the heck of it (exception to this statement: if money were to start growing on trees I would actually do just that), my eagerness to get back in the classroom as well as other influences are placing a bit of pressure on me to decide what it is I want to do.

So, to both quell this desire I have to get back into a classroom and satisfy my curiosity about what it would be like at the grad school level, last weekend I attended a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) course at American University. I went with a friend from college who has been trying to sell me on the program... even before his enrollment was official. He has been telling me to sit in on one of his classes for months now, so I took him up on his offer and attended his Facilitation and Team Building class on Sunday. This was exciting to me for two reasons: I'm strongly considering getting an MPA and I am currently involved with some of the facilitation work that my company does for our clients (and I love it).

The course takes place over three weekends with a full day of class on both Saturday and Sunday. I quickly realized that this could only work with a very engaging professor and an interesting topic, which for this weekend was team building. You know: the norming, forming, storming, performing team building. We spent 6 hours on the topic. As in 5+1=6. When I expressed my amusement with this the response my friend gave me was, "Welcome to grad school."

I couldn't help but smile. It was only a few days ago that my manager and teammate were laughing at how much I love to think all “pie in the sky”. I do love thinking conceptually. I’m an ideas girl. And in a classroom is exactly where I want to be again, sitting amongst a diverse group of my peers learning new concepts while reflecting on and sharing our individual experiences.

And for those of you who are thinking it but wouldn’t let me get to it: I am very aware of "how young I am" and "how much time I have" to going back to school. I thank you for those thoughts of encouragement and appeals to my spirit of procrastination. And to those of you who are committed to reminding twenty-somethings how “fast life passes you by”: I'm very aware of my own goals in life and the plans I have for myself so I have no intention on waiting too long either.

The grad school process isn't one that I intend to rush, but I have every intention of making progress over the next several months. That includes taking the GRE, doing some research on various programs, and maybe even applying to some programs if they are a good fit. I just know that the process has to be mine, and mine alone. I am more than confident that it will unfold appropriately as I continue to figure what I want to do and be for the next few years.

In the meantime, I'd love for you to share any wisdom and insights you might have on the general process of looking into and applying to grad school programs!