August 9th, 2016

A Staffer and a Student: Going Back to School and I’m an Oma

I’ve always been a lifelong learner. I love to read everything…well that’s not entirely true. I read totally nonfiction until two summers ago at the beach and I read the “50 Shade of Grey” trilogy. Yes, the whole thing. I never thought I’d read a “book like that” until a 70-year-old friend of mine said, “Once you get past the first book, it’s a really good story.” Then, I got into the Winston Graham “Poldark” books because I loved Aiden Turner in “Being Human” on the BBC.  And, now Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” books–I stumbled into those books 20 years late because I love Sam Heughan from a Hallmark movie and he was in the TV version of the books. Yes, I watch Hallmark Channel!  It’s predictable and always a happy ending.  Seriously, if you need a happiness fix, just tune in the last 30 minutes of any Hallmark Channel movie.  You get to see the conflict, conflict resolution and then the happy ending.  It works!

But my passion is politics and biography.

I’ve always wanted to go back to school, but life happened and either kids were in college or I couldn’t afford it, or both.  So, in 2014, the last of the kiddos got out of college and I started thinking about it again. I have a J-school degree (that’s journalism), but I couldn’t see the benefit of going down that road. My friend, Monica Kaufman (I was her intern when I was 19) went back to school and at a lunch she said, “You should do it, too.”

So I set up a meeting with Dean Stefanie Lindquist formerly of UGA’s SPIA school—the political science and international affairs department—and got to talking about. We fleshed out some ideas and settled on women in politics and polling. The first, because conservatives and Republicans in Georgia have a hard time electing women—and as one of those candidates who lost in a congressional race—I’d like to dig deeper. The second, because the polling for the last few cycles has been abysmal and I’d like to be a part of the solution to find out why.

So we set on a path of discovery in her office that day and my mind was racing. Then she said, “You’ll have to take the GRE.”

I’m a wife, mother, mother-in-law and Oma! Yikes!