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Finding my place

I have found my people.  Quite possibly the last place I would have expected to find them was in a research methods class, but that is indeed where I finally found them.  I feel a little bit like Gonzo must have felt in “Muppets from Space” when, after a life time of being the oddball alien that no one could quite figure out, he was suddenly surrounded by a whole slew of people who looked like him and thought like him.  (yes, I am a Muppets geek. I hope you are too.)

Today was the first “first day of school” that I have experienced in five years.  It was a strange yet exciting feeling to be a student again, pen and notebook in hand, reading over a syllabus.  I must admit I was a bit bummed to realize that my first class of graduate school would be a research methods class, but by the end of the class I was TOTALLY geeked out for the rest of the semester.

How awesome is grad school? Let me count the ways.

1. Being older, more experienced, and, well, adult, your professors are more like peers than they ever were before, only way more knowledgeable than your peers are.

2. You are focused in a subject area that you (hopefully) are really passionate about.  This makes learning much more fun!

3. Because most graduate programs are housed in larger universities, there is a wealth of information/research/resources at your fingertips, specific to your field.  Which is really exciting, especially when you’re in a really tiny field.

4. You’re surrounded by people that are equally geeked out as you about the topics you’re diving into.

Some (if not all) of this information may seem obvious to you, but here is why it is so exciting to me.  As an undergraduate student at a small liberal arts college, I was really interested in all the things I’m interested in now, but my professors were not equipped to teach me about these things.  Don’t get me wrong – they were excellent at what they did – but their interests and realms of experience just didn’t encompass my non-traditional interests.  Likewise, my fellow students looked at me somewhat askance when I tried to explain to them how exciting the field of community-based and applied theater was.  Even in the past week, during NYU’s “Welcome Week,” I only met students from other programs who were all somewhat confused by my program.  Now, suddenly, in my first graduate class, I am surrounded by people with similar stories.

So, like I said, I have found my people.  In the words of the community-based play I worked on in Tennessee a few months ago: I am home.

Addendum:
I wrote this two days ago, but due to my lack of home internet until now I am only just now publishing it.  I’ve just come from my second class of the semester, titled “Coping with Conflict: Drama as a Catalyst for Social Awareness,” and I am if possible EVEN MORE geeked out for this semester.  Yay!

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