As I conclude my first year in the MPA program at USC with a 3.8 GPA, I can’t help but reflect on how far I’ve come academically. I never imagined the possibilities that were accessible to me and in retrospect, I feel slightly undeserving of them.
As an undergraduate student at CSU, Sacramento I struggled to figure out a career path. This inner turmoil was reflected in my grades and was very clear to all of my professors. I rarely went to class and squeaked by the first couple years of college with a ‘C’ average.
I soon lost more and more interest and the major I chose did not interest me at all. Before I knew it, the Dean of my college sent me a letter to inform me that I was on academic probation. It was my junior year of college and I was days away from being kicked out.
This was my wake-up call.
Did I even want to be in college?
The answer was a firm yes. I wanted to get a degree and I would no longer settle for sufficient. I managed to convince a handful of my professors to give me a second chance and finished out my last year and a half double majoring and on the Dean’s List.
As I crossed the podium to receive my degree, I thought it was the highlight of my academic career.
It was not.
I began to work for the Board of Equalization as a legislative analyst to one of the board members. I absolutely loved it! I never imagined I could love going to work, I had a new job every three months when I was in college. I don’t have ADD, but I get distracted very easily.
Government policy fascinates me and is always challenging. However, I knew I needed to continue my study of policy and administration if I were going to be able to do the I could. I researched school after school, not wanting to settle for sufficient or easily accessible.
I knew I could excel at a top school and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the best.
I noticed that USC’s School of Policy, Planning, and Developments MPA program was ranked 7th in the nation. I knew I belonged there. I applied to many other programs but my heart was set on USC. So much so that I figured there was no way I would get in.
I met with Virginia Kaser, and she set my heart at ease. I left that meeting with a sense of hope that I could get in to this amazing school and I could afford it. I got a couple rejection letters and a few acceptance, but I was not going to make a decision until I found out if I got into the school of my dreams.
I will never forget the day I got the gigantic packet from USC.
Mostly I remember the acceptance letter. I had done it. I had surpassed everyone’s expectations of me. In high school, I had the same grades as my first couple years at CSUS. I know none of my old teachers would expect me to be attending this school and to be in this program.
It was awesome and scary at the same time. I knew this program was ranked nationally for a reason. It will be challenging emotionally, mentally, and physically. Working full time and getting my masters full time was not going to be easy. But I was up for the challenge and as I conclude my first year I am proud of my success thus far.
One of the best things I’ve gained as an MPA student at USC is a family. I have never met such an amazing group of people and I am honored to study with them. I look forward to broadening my network of USC family members and I look forward to expanding upon my knowledge of public administration and management.
Every class I take helps me to my job better.
This in itself is priceless. I hope to gain enough knowledge of racing law and policy to soon begin lobbying in this industry. I now work for the California Department of Food and Agriculture as their legislative analyst for the Division of Fairs and Expositions.
One goal I have for my MPA is to assist local animal shelters in surviving this economic downtown. I currently volunteer for the Sacramento SPCA and in the future I hope that I can assist them and other animal welfare nonprofits function, raise money, gain volunteers, establish solids administrative strategies, and thrive.
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