In 2013 I started my Masters degree in International Relations at American University in Washington, D.C. After one semester I moved back home to Oklahoma to pursue a career and spent six years doing various things in the political field before deciding to finish what I started and go back to school.
That’s the short version of this blog post. Here’s the long version…
In undergrad, I was initially a graphic design major. I struggled through all of my classes, wanting so badly to be as creative as everyone around me but always coming up short. One day, in a photography class, my teacher played a documentary about James Nachtwey, a prolific war photographer and photojournalist. You could say that day changed the course of my life. In the documentary, James was asked how he could photograph moments of despair, grief, morbidity and loss. Crimes against humanity, mass graves, egregious indecencies, etc. He said, “If I don’t, who will? If I don’t show it to you, how will you know that it happened and be moved to do anything about it?” That day I left class, walked to the registrar’s office, changed my major to Journalism with a minor in Political Science and never looked back. After graduation, I moved to Washington, D.C where I started my Master’s degree in International Relations at AU, as noted in my first paragraph.
When I left AU to pursue a career after only completing one semester, my International Relations studies kept nagging me. Something kept telling me to go back to school and finish that degree. I’d never enjoyed studying something as much as I enjoyed IR. As it turns out, when I went back to school several years later at the University of Oklahoma, I picked up right where I left off. It was exhilarating to still feel so passionate about it and crave more and more knowledge. The past two years in my program, I’ve soaked everything up like a sponge and written hundreds and hundreds of pages for papers on subjects I’m extremely passionate about. I guess that’s how you know you’ve found your shtick in life, huh?
For any interested parties, here is a list of the courses I took for my degree including those at AU and OU:
Intro to International Relations
Peacebuilding in Africa
Global Political Economy
Politics of the European Union
Theory/Practice of International Relations
US Foreign Policy
Early Chinese Philosophy
Research in Human Relations
Political Economy of Development
Additionally, in June of this year I spent two weeks at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. studying nuclear security policy as well. Somehow during the duration of my degree, my focus centered on nuclear security. My thesis title was, “International Nuclear Security: The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism in a Climate of Global Proliferation and Weak Security Cultures.”
It’s almost bittersweet that my Masters degree has come to an end. As someone who could be a perpetual student her whole life, the finality of finishing a higher degree came with a dose of sadness I didn’t think I’d experience. So when the question of “what next?” started hitting, I realized maybe I didn’t have to stop my studies in this field quite yet. So, having said that, I have some exciting news..
Are you ready for a life update ANNOUNCEMENT?
In November, I applied to the Hague Academy of International Law in the Hague, Netherlands. It is a prestigious and very focused academy housed at the Peace Palace. The Peace Palace is also the home of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the United Nation’s International Court of Justice. Why is this an important structure? Because international treaties and agreements are negotiated there, war criminals stand trial there, crimes against humanity and human rights violations are adjudicated there. The list goes on. It is a hub of international cooperation and diplomacy. In fact, the Academy of International Law has churned out several diplomats. And in July of this year, I have a seat at that table. I found out about a week after applying that I was accepted! I could not be more humbled, honored and over-the-moon excited to continue my academic journey, widen my scope of knowledge and continue building my network base in my field of specialty. I’m fairly positive I’m the only blogger that blogs such seriously nerdy material, but I am who I am. And yes, even brainiacs love fashion!
As we head into 2020 and I figure out what comes next for me, I’m excited to bring you all along. From my home in Oklahoma to the canals of the Netherlands as I study in the Hague….let’s start this new decade well and give it everything we’ve got in 2020! What opportunity will you reach out and grab? What dreams will you chase? How will you better your life and the lives of those around you?