Will Smith, Commitment, and Applying for Dear Life

Will Smith, Commitment, and Applying for Dear Life

Photo Credit: Oopey Mason of Oopey.com We are improvising trying to figure out a plan B.

Photo Credit: Oopey Mason of Oopey.com We are improvising trying to figure out a plan B.

“No Plan B, It Distracts from Plan A”

-Will Smith

I first applied for grad school a few years ago, and I was accepted, but I ultimately decided not to go because it was not a sound financial choice at the time. So I worked for a few years in a variety of jobs, and when I felt like I had a workable (for a 27 year old in our current economy) financial base, I renewed my search for graduate programs. I researched many potential programs throughout the Chicagoland Area, some in France, and casually researched some of the “named” programs throughout the United States.

I realized that I wanted to stay in Chicago, I had come here with the intention of attending grad school after all, and I thought that would narrow my search considerably. It only deepened my search for a school that would fit my plans, and emphasized how intently I wanted to be in a program where I could give as much as I was receiving.

One of the phenomenal programs I was lucky enough to attend involved the fusion of social media and international arts named #iartschat. Which featured a lecture and conversation with John McGrath of National Theater Wales an organization that is combining theater and social media in fascinating ways. The event was spearheaded by Dr. Kelly Page of the AEMM department. In the immediate I am doing my best to give by highlighting this event as one of the many, MANY,  amazing things that happen at this school.

[flickr id=”10995565506″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”medium_640″ group=”” align=”none”]I applied to only one program. Columbia College Chicago for a Master’s of Arts Management. That might seem a little foolhardy, but it was in the end a very calculated decision. Every other program that I had researched in the area had great things to offer, but not for my goals. They didn’t offer the freedom to develop research and work that would contribute to the field and the school in the immediate ways I wanted. Very late in the game, I realized that the only program that I truly wanted to attend was the Master’s in the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management department here, and concentrated all of my efforts to applying for Columbia College Chicago only.

Do I recommend this course of action for anyone else? No, not at all. You should apply to a multitude of programs and diversify your choices. You should set yourself up in a position where you can weigh the costs and opportunities of your acceptance and award letters. For me, the choice was simply very clear; I had already done my homework and I knew that I wanted to be at Columbia. And I could not have made a better choice.

[flickr id=”10995640554″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”medium_640″ group=”” align=”none”]I was lucky enough to receive the position of Graduate Ambassador and a position as a Graduate Assistant, and inconceivably, as a Marketing Assistant at the American Bar Endowment all at the same time. As you are applying for graduate programs and considering Columbia College Chicago, let me say that there are a multitude of ways to accomplish your goals, and if you are intent on coming to this program, you will find a way to do it. Maybe not this year, but when you’re ready you will. Let me also dissuade you again from following my path towards this goal. I work full time, I go to school full time, I somehow find time to write creatively, and I perform nights in a comedy troupe, I wouldn’t wish this busy of a schedule on anyone but myself.

I have thrown myself fully into many things at the same time, and am somehow, inconceivably, maintaining. So here’s my ultimate piece of advice to everyone as you are putting together your applications for this exceptional program, and perhaps others. Do what you love; follow what you love with a fierce unbreakable passion. Don’t let naysayers and obstacles keep you from achieving what you want in your life. Teachers, mentors, and uninformed opinions on a blog can only take you so far. At then end of the day, after you have turned in your applications, the most important decision maker is you. “No plan B it distracts from plan A”

You will decide to apply or not, you will decide to go to grad school or you won’t, and you will decide to make it a success. I just happen to believe that Columbia College Chicago is the greatest choice I could make, and the best place to make choices for success. If I had to apply for graduate school all over again, I would still only apply to one place, and it would still be Columbia College Chicago.