Thanks to some very enthusiastic graduate assistants, The Graduate School is happy to bring you new bloggers! Each month, you’ll learn more about what graduate school is really like, and what Charleston is like. Our guest bloggers are students from our graduate and certificate programs, and will share with you their experiences. The first guest is Elizabeth, a candidate for our Master of Arts in Communication.
I know that it is about that time again, when college seniors are thinking about applying to graduate schools. I believe it was this very week in January last year was when I first started really researching graduate schools, and filling out applications. I would like to tell you a bit about my experience being a first year graduate student at the College of Charleston and why I chose to come here, instead of anywhere else.
I guess I should introduce myself first, since this is my first blog entry! My name is Elizabeth Dorrance and I am a Graduate Assistant for the Department of Communication. I have been living in Charleston for just less than a year, and I love it. I moved down here immediately after graduating from Western Michigan University with my Bachelors Degree in Communication.
Being from Michigan I have many praises to sing about Charleston’s amazing weather. I knew it would be great back in May when I arrived here just by looking at weather.com and seeing the monthly averages for December, January, and February. Nothing had prepared me for the reality of it though. I went home for Christmas break as many of my colleagues did. They went home to North Carolina or Tennessee though; I went home to frigid Michigan. I think I had forgotten just how COLD the snow really is. The day before I left to come back to Charleston there was a full out blizzard. I didn’t know whether I would even be able to leave on time. When I returned to Charleston it was just amazing to me that I could come outside, have the sun shine on my face and feel warmth. That I could go out without boots up to my knees and keep my feet dry. This week has been a prime example of exactly why I wanted to move here so badly. It has been unbelievable gorgeous out. I even made it out to Folly Beach on Sunday to bask in the sun. I know the weather is not everyone’s favorite topic, but please don’t take it for granted because I know what the northerners suffer through every year, and it is indescribable.
On that note, I would like to say a few words about the amazing Department of Communication I belong to here. The other very important (more important than the beautiful days in January) reason I chose Charleston was this amazing college and communication department. I came to visit Charleston’s campus during my Spring Break last year and was blown away. The campus is so beautiful, and the people are so friendly. One of my favorite things was how different everyone seemed to be, that people could really be individuals here. I even saw someone riding a unicycle down the street during my visit. After I saw that I thought “How could I NOT go here? People ride unicycles to class!” I also saw people walking barefoot to class, people dressed like hippies, all walking alongside people dressed like they were going out to a fancy dinner. I know that there is much more than appearances to all of these wonderful people I saw, but sometimes first impressions are made by what you see. That was day one of my Spring Break. On day two in Charleston I met with the Communication Graduate Program Director Dr. Vince Benigni. He told me all about the program and introduced me to some other graduate students so I could get a feel for what the program was really like, for real students. I loved how down to earth everyone was, and so knowledge driven. It seemed like the program was really geared at students making the most of their time here, and I love it when things are designed to fit my needs. I liked that I had an option of either doing a thesis, or doing an internship in the real world to complete my degree. At the time I had still not decided what I wanted to do, so I was glad to have a choice. In the end, College of Charleston was my number one choice for graduate school and I am so glad to be here.
I sometimes miss being home in Michigan, but I have decided to cherish my time here in South Carolina because I only have one chance to get as much as I can from this experience. If experiences are what you are looking for, College of Charleston is the place to have them!