Master’s of Arts Management: We Hot

Master’s of Arts Management: We Hot

10/10 Aliens agree: the 2019 MAM Cohort is hot.

It’s my first semester at Columbia College Chicago and my first blog post as Graduate Ambassador for the Master’s of Arts Management. And hey—you should know I’m also a Graduate Assistant. I came to this program from a position in higher education administration, studied studio art in undergrad, and have spent three years collaborating and creating in the Chicago drag scene. So while I have experience in both the arts and higher education, I’m looking to put the pieces of my career experience together into something more coherent where I can integrate my work with drag artists into art spaces outside of the nightclub.

In my first two weeks, I’ve hit the ground running: getting hired for student jobs, attending first classes and writing the first essays, and becoming acquainted with the cohort, staff, and faculty who comprise my new day to day life here at Columbia.

And of course, along with all of this getting to know you extravaganza, come the group photos.

Like the one above, taken at the 2017 Convocation, where we memorialized the fact that WE HOT—a cohort hot to learn more, do more, and totally smash the Arts Management world in our respective fields. (Also, respect to cohort member Emily Chervony for popularizing WE HOT on our group sign for the scavenger hunt at the beginning of the day.) But here, take a look for yourself at our group picture lineup to get a sense of our rad camaraderie right out the gate:

From left to right: me, George, Emily C, Emily E, Shauna, Lena, Andrei, and Dudu

My cohort during New Student Welcome Day, being ~blown away~ by the Windy City

And here’s our cohort holding our prize Columbia mugs, winning for “best photo” for being blown away by Chicago

Above is the last group photo for the post, where we celebrated winning Best Photo for the Amazing Grad Race. Amazing Grad Race is the scavenger hunt section of New Student Welcome Day for graduate students.

As an undergraduate at a different college, I barely remember my orientation activities because I was sick with nerves for the duration—from being away from home for the first time, to not understanding campus, to the fact that I was an 18 year old with barely any clue what I was doing or where I was going. Now, a solid 12 years later at the ripe age of 30, I’ve studied art, worked in higher education administration, moved to Chicago from North Carolina, and sincerely gotten more familiar with myself. This go around, orientation was fun. I had the open mind and sense of purpose that allowed me both to put myself out there and explain my interests, while also being curious about my cohort and beginning to learn our dynamics. This difference, my friends, is the advantage of going back to grad school. It’s tough being a little 18-year-old art baby deer wandering in the woods of self-doubt. Being older and wiser while pursuing education is something I highly recommend. And Columbia’s campus and incredibly open and welcoming atmosphere is the place to do it.

As I’m only in the second week of the program, my experience with Columbia and the advice I can give is limited. But here are the stray observations I’ve collected so far:

  1. It is truly great to have one faculty member with whom you feel connected. In my case, it’s Bob Blandford, as I’m his Graduate Assistant and we’ve already bonded deeply about how he saw Rupaul’s first performance in New York (!), while going over the details for his undergraduate course, Intro to the Business of Visual Arts.
  2. Attending orientations is great because it makes the first week of classes that much easier–you know some of the faces to expect, and it gives you ideas about who to work with for the group projects you’re assigned in your first classes.
  3. The MAM program offers some truly interesting faculty-led study abroad opportunities for J-term or the summer. I’m looking forward to choosing which courses will fit best with my course of study. In my case, I’m excited about the prospect of going to Edinburgh, Scotland, for a course in festival management.

I’m interested to see where the semester leads and how it helps informs my goals moving forward. And for now, I’m truly excited to see how our hot cohort comes together as a group.