Before finishing off my undergraduate degree, one of my favourite professors asked me if I had ever considered grad school. I had, but money was an issue. I had tapped out my OSAP funding and couldn’t even pay off my last semester of tuition. I owed the university money, which I had to pay to literally get a copy of my diploma, so that I could give my future employer (the federal government) a copy of said diploma to complete my hiring package and get a job after undergrad. I ended up taking out a loan through a private banking institution – my debt load and repayment is a topic for another day – to cross off that requirement.
I spent about 8 months in the federal government, working first as an Executive Assistant and then as a Question Period Officer, before deciding to return to school. My work schedule and supervisor, as well as the Master of Arts program in Communication at the University of Ottawa, were flexible enough that I was able to enrol as a “Special Student” and begin graduate courses a semester early. I had been accepted to start the M.A. program in the Fall, but wanted to get a head start! The summer was a quiet time for a QP Officer, so physically going to class didn’t conflict with my work schedule.
When I applied to UOttawa, I had proposed studying the use of the television series 24 as a tool of propaganda. I had never seen a full episode, only previews for the series shown during the commercials of the shows that I watched (mostly reality television), and couldn’t get over how overtly racist it seemed. Although I’ve written several papers and even presented on the topic (i.e. the use of the ticking clock, the possibility that the portrayal of David Palmer paved the way for Barack Obama) and have some very interesting theories about the power of 24 (and television in general), I ended up switching topics following a seminar with my future supervisor.
To be continued…