I am indeed moving to Amsterdam. But I can’t forget that this move is for a purpose. Going back to school.
Recently I’ve become consumed by all of the planning and logistics. Fill out this form, email this person, pay this agency, ask this person something. Housing, visas, financial aid – they’re all important. And fortunately, the University has been really helpful as I work through everything.
My course registration materials may be the most exciting email I’ve received so far – well, maybe with the exception of having a place to live. Reading through course descriptions and deciding which will suit me best helped the idea of studying full-time again to sink-in fully.
As I mentioned way back when I was first accepted, my first semester in Amsterdam will be a semester of preparatory classes. This, they say, will set me up for success in their Master’s program, which will begin in the fall of 2011. Until then, I will take three classes: two required and one elective. My required classes are Research Methodology and Foundations in Social Sciences. For my elective, I have chosen “Experiencing Differences” as my first choice. This course focuses on ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in the context of the Netherlands. According to the catalogue, the course will “provide insight in the concept of cultural diversity in relation to the construction or social formation of identities and communities, and processes of exclusion and inclusion.” Ooh!
I’ll go to class several times a week and commit to reading every single word of my assignments (unlike my approaches in undergrad and law school, during which skimming was a preferred strategy). I’ll write my papers well in advance of the deadlines. And I’ll get to know my professors beyond our required interactions. I’m doing the school thing right this time, not taking one moment of it for granted. I expect the setting of Amsterdam to either help me appreciate and take full advantage of my circumstances – or it will be the main distraction that I will need to resist to get my work done.
Following my remedial…or rather, prep semester, I’ll begin the Master’s program in Migration and Ethnic Studies, within the Dept of Sociology. Merging all of the recent work I’ve been doing with my family research, I’ll be seeking to prove the importance of genealogical research for black youth throughout the African Diaspora. And I’m hoping to turn my research into something concrete. The ultimate goal is to start an organization that will provide young people with access to their histories.
Before any of that can happen, I have to go to school. And I’m finally ready!