Graduate Preview Day, November 17th, was my first official day as a Graduate Student Ambassador for the Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts MFA program. I am not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about the whole experience.
I came into this Ambassador role pretty late in the semester. I felt like I was going to be walking into a room where everyone knew each other, had these established relationships, and knew what they were doing. I was surprised to find that everyone was very welcoming to me. The thing is that I should not have been surprised. That has been my experience thus far at Columbia College Chicago. Every single time I have walked into a door, I have been welcomed. It was not that long ago that I was a prospective student visiting the campus during events like this. One of the things that solidified my want to go to this school was that inviting atmosphere. Even as I was extremely late to the party, it was cool, we were all there together.
Getting up onto the stage, staring out into the crowd of people trying to decide the course of their future, I felt a little shaky. Somewhere between the butterflies and rapid heartbeat, I realized that the day was about those people sitting out there looking to us for answers.
I grabbed the mic. I spoke. I did my best to answer questions. I probably came off as a little rambly, but I could hear that voice in my head telling me that I was helping. I told my story of my ridiculous commute and how I am always trying to balance my family life and my time at school. That the sacrifices of graduate school afforded me a better chance at not having to be trapped in retail. That because of my choice of school, I had a brighter future.
After the Q&A, I got a chance to show off the greatness of the Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts facilities. We took a tour of the bindery, letterpress studio, and my personal favorite spot on campus: the paper studio. I got to see a lot of the excitement—the same excitement that I had experienced in myself during my first tour. The vastness of the facilities are incredible.
I was asked a ton of questions, which I answered candidly. We talked about the openness of the faculty, how they are really interested in providing us with the tools for success. That the students and staff here are part of a community that is always encouraging.
In the end, I was told that I had been a big help, but I think the feeling was mutual. After my experience at this event, I feel energized, ready to create and succeed in my first semester at this school.
To finish this entry off, I really want to thank the other Graduate Student Ambassadors for welcoming me into their group and Jeff Abell for meeting up with us in the Center for Book and Paper Arts. It was a really great day. Thank you.