I’m paying $400 an hour for this?!

Twenty-two years of experience have taught me at least one thing: life doesn’t always happen as you expect.

I’m bored – not because I’m doing homework, and not because I’ve been home most of the day. I’m just restless – again. I’m tired of school, and I want to live my life, not study the lives of others.

Maybe this is a problem that never really goes away.

Graduate school isn’t shaping up to be what I thought it would. I came here because I wanted to sharpen my writing skills. That has happened, but that’s been secondary to my coursework. Most of my time is spent learning how to research, studying communication theories, and poring over history books.

That’s not how I planned to spend my money.

I suppose that’s poor planning on my part. I’ve had the program description handy for more than a year and a half. I knew that these core classes were part of the deal.

But no – read these course descriptions. This is the sort of stuff I thought I was signing up to study – but none of these courses have been offered in the past two or three semesters, nor are they available this spring.

JN 512 Editorial Writing and Function. Three hours. Study of the role, function, and construction of editorials and practice in editorial writing.

JN 515 Magazine Writing and Editing. Three hours. Writing and marketing of magazine articles. Study of technical, industrial, employee, and general-circulation magazines.

JN 520 Advanced Editing and Design of Publications. Three hours. Lecture and laboratory. Study, research, applications, and production of traditional and online newspapers, magazines, and related media, including managing and organizing newsrooms, graphics departments, and production departments. Demographics and research of audiences for different news and information products; formulation of policy.

JN 525 Literary Journalism I. Three hours. Studies in nonfiction. Includes extensive writing in this genre.

JN 526 Literary Journalism II. Three hours. Studies in nonfiction. Includes extensive writing in this genre.

The only “professional” classes offered during the year I intend to spend in this program are Creative Non-Fiction (which I’ll take next semester!) and Depth Reporting (which didn’t fit into my schedule this semester.) I feel cheated.

I didn’t come here for an “academic” education – I don’t want to be a professor. I want to be a journalist. This program offered me that opportunity, but now that I’m halfway through a semester, I’ve realized that it isn’t here.

I’m not planning to drop out – this time! I’m just disappointed. Within the next year or so, this program is making a change that promises to transform it into everything I had hoped for in graduate study.

Meanwhile, I got the raw end of the deal.

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