Never in a Million Years

Never in a Million Years

Columbia College Chicago

I graduated undergrad in 2012 and never in a million years thought I would go back to school. I always loved the social aspect of school, but taking tests and doing homework was never my strong suit.  Fast forward to now, I am in my first year of grad school pursuing my Master of Civic Media and there is honestly no place I would rather be.

The last few years of my life have been a turning point. I started working at a nonprofit in Chicago called Mercy Home for Boys & Girls as a Digital Media Producer and have never been happier. Being able to use my video production background to help the kids of Chicago has been a dream come true. Last spring, I realized that pursuing my master’s would be the next best step for my career. Ultimately, I’d love to be the head of creative at a nonprofit, and I think getting a master’s at Columbia will help guide me to making the right connections and obtain more skills on how to use media for the greater good.

One of the reasons why I chose the Master of Civic Media program was because the program is designed for people who are working full-time. It was important for me to still have my full-time job, so being able to still work 9-5 and then go to classes at night has been a game-changer. I’m also doing the program part-time. Knowing that the full-time program only takes a year (I’ll be finishing in two years) was a selling point for me, since I’m not someone who wants to be in school forever. The first few weeks were a lot more challenging than I anticipated. With Covid still being very prevalent, going to in-person classes again felt foreign to me. I’ve had to retrain myself on things that used to be so normal like taking public transportation and seeing people face-to-face rather than through a screen.  I will say, I feel very safe in class and have enjoyed being able to collaborate and socialize with people again.


I’ve also had to reteach myself how to time-manage school, work, and my personal life. For the past nine years, I’ve been used to working five days a week, getting nights to myself, and then having the weekends to do what I want. With grad school, your priorities have to completely change. I’ve chosen Sunday and Tuesday nights as my schoolwork time and for two classes I’d say I’m averaging between 4-7 hours of homework per week. It was draining at first, but for the first time in all my years going to school, I’m taking my schoolwork seriously. I think having time between undergrad and grad school was good for me because I am now doing school for me, not just because it was something I felt like I had to do. Even though the first couple of weeks I felt overwhelmed, I do think I finally have a groove going. I’ve never been busier and have had to train myself to balance life appropriately from choosing a designated date night during the week to making sure I’m not thinking about school during work hours. All of the professors and students have been helpful and responsive if I ever have questions about homework or need clarification on a project. This is the first time in my life where I’m getting straight A’s and feel like I’m learning things that truly will help me in my career. I am excited to keep growing throughout this program and even though it hasn’t been easy I think it will be worth all of the hard work.