I emailed my contact almost immediately after receiving UGA’s acceptance letter. He already knew I had applied late and was hoping for a last minute assistantship offer. To reiterate the fact as tactfully as possible, I told him I was excited to attend but that my final decision depended on my financial situation.
His initial response was not particularly encouraging, but after a few days he got back to me with an ultimatum of sorts. He told me they wanted to fill their remaining few TA slots as soon as possible. Meaning, they wanted to offer them to students who would definitely accept rather than taking their chances with an applicant who was still on the fence. If I wrote back saying “Yes, if you offer me a TA position I will definitely attend UGA,” things were more likely work out in my favor.
I was obviously thrilled by the idea of attending UGA. It sounded like a southern version of my alma mater, UMD. Attending grad school there would be both an adventure and an easy adjustment at the same time. There were clubs and study abroad opportunities I wanted to get involved in, and I could picture myself leading a happy life in the town of Athens. Before I could make any promises, however, there were a few details I needed to work out.
First and foremost, I wanted to make sure I could fit in all of the right classes to become a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM). This was something Dr. S. and I had discussed briefly before I applied, but never fully worked out. UGA’s program is in the Geography department, and it’s not designed for students pursuing broadcast. If I went there, I would need to take all of the required Geography courses and the Atmospheric Science concentration courses andddd any CBM prerequisites I was missing beyond that.
Dr. S. took the time to write out a 2-year course schedule for me. He managed to fit everything in, but to say it was intense is an understatement. I would have to double up on high level coursework every semester, including the summers. As much as he was rooting for me, even Dr. S. admitted it was not a course of action he would recommend to any student.
Nagging at the back of my mind was also the fact that I would have to develop and write a thesis in order to graduate. All while working 10-20 hours a week as a TA. And the assistantship would only cover funding for two years, so I couldn’t take an extra year to complete the degree.
Plus, somewhere in the midst of all that, I would want to get an internship with an Atlanta area television station… because I would need real world broadcast experience and a demo reel to get a job after graduation. BUT, I couldn’t get an internship over the summer, because I would need to spend that time developing my thesis. And I couldn’t get an internship during the year, because I would be busy with coursework overload and my TA duties.
So... yeah. That’s where things stand with UGA.
Rachael has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Maryland and is currently applying to graduate school for broadcast meteorology.
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