I Think I’ll Go to Boston

Oh, wow. How committed I’ve been with this whole blogging thing, right? I don’t really feel as bad about it anymore though. It’s my blog, my space, my rules, etc. And I haven’t been entirely absent — the spring semester is in full swing, and I opened it with a column on The Daily‘s site about engagement and why I do what I do.

Believe it or not, I don’t sit down, rub my hands together and gleefully hit “delete” on every right-leaning column that lands in my inbox. In fact, The Daily’s opinion email is deader than my love life, which was on its last legs my sophomore year of college. I get our opinion content from two places: our staff columnists and the community. From what I’ve seen so far, the latter has been reluctant to engage — unless you count the guy who periodically sends us moderately creepy hand-written faxes from a car dealership in Oklahoma City.

Later, at the end of January, I wrote a post on Medium about opinion journalism, objectivity, and the convergence of the two in the era of digital journalism.

What does it mean to be a journalist in a post-November 8, 2016 United States? What does it mean to do your job when the President called for physical harm against you at his campaign rallies? What does it mean to report the truth, only the truth, and nothing but the truth when identity politics play so intimately and at times violently into today’s political rhetoric?

I’m also in school, or whatever. (Just kidding, mom. I’m still in school. I haven’t flunked out yet. We’re good.) I’m genuinely loving my grad classes this semester — Economics of Sustainability, Contemporary Feminist Thought, and International Political Economy. More on that in a bit.

So last weekend, I went to Boston. (Well, technically Cambridge. Whatever.) Because of my Civic Engagement Fellowship at OU’s Carl Albert Congressional Research Center, two of my friends and I had the opportunity to attend the Harvard Institute of Politics 2017 National Campaign Conference. (Yes, it’s a long and unwieldy name and no, I’m not 100% sure it’s the actual full name of the event.)

The conference lasted from Friday evening to Sunday morning, but we still accomplished a ton in a short amount of time. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I still get nervous attending conferences — especially when the other attendees are from super prestigious schools. But it turned out that I was worried for nothing, and this type of convergence emphasized what we all could offer from our unique viewpoints. Also, a top Harvard polling professor talked about us on a talk show. So that’s pretty cool.

I also ate the best burger of my entire life. There was gouda and homemade barbecue sauce involved.

I’m really jazzed about everything we discussed, but I don’t really know how to adequately describe it, or if it would even be worth it. I hope that over the course of the next year and a half of my time at OU, the ideas we discussed manifest themselves in some seriously kickass projects and initiatives.

I also came to a really sudden, gratifying moment of clarity thanks to a passing comment someone else made while we were chatting. Over the past few weeks, my Economics of Sustainability class has helped me realize that my passion and skills lend themselves best to a career in public policy (or at least one that starts there). The more I talked with other students at the conference and researched online, I felt like someone was smacking me on the back of my head: get an MPA.

So… that’s what I’m going to do. After I graduate from OU in May 2018 with my BA and MA in International Studies, I’m going to pursue a master’s of public administration at another university (right now, Syracuse is the goal). It feels good to say that. It feels good to know what I want to do, and what I feel called to do. I’m excited. I’m SO FREAKING EXCITED!

Our natural state…
…and our slightly more formal one. The color coordination, by the way, was completely unintentional.

This post might feel a little all over the place, and that’s because, well — that’s kind of how my brain is working right now. Grad school is kicking my butt, but I’m enjoying my professors, classmates, and extracurriculars so deeply. It’s a good life, and even though my anxiety has been so! horrible! lately, I’m still determined to power through. Thanks for sticking it out with me.

Future — no, current — world-changers right here.

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