Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications
I agreed to attend UNCG’s First Friday without knowing what it was. So I’m assuming a lot of you aren’t experts on it either.
What is it?
First Friday is a Graduate School event from 2 to 4pm on the first Friday of almost every month.
But as my eleventh grade journalism teacher, Mr. Kolman, would say, “You’ve only answered what and when.”
So to make Mr. Kolman proud:
Where? The Graduate School Welcome Center (500 Forest Street). In the conference room.
Why? Keep reading and I’ll tell you.
How? However you want. Drive, walk, bike, or pogo stick.
So those are the details. But why would you want to go? That’s the important question.
For me, it offered a chance to step away from my studies and interact with people from other departments. As graduate students, we find our niche among those who are pursuing the same degree. In the four weeks that I’ve been here, First Friday has been the only time I’ve spoken with students outside of the Creative Writing and English departments. And while it’s been great to surround myself with like-minded people, UNCG is a much bigger place than a thirty-person department.
During the event, I met people who are pursuing degrees in music, Spanish, and business, to name a few. We talked about why we’ve chosen our respective fields, and what’s driving us to get a higher degree. And really, that’s what grad school is all about: developing ourselves, not only as individuals, but as members of a larger community. We are all part of the UNCG community, so why not interact with those outside of our departments? The students I spoke with were very interested in the poetry I was reading, and one woman recited a Shakespearian sonnet that I had recently studied. I was impressed by how welcoming these “strangers” were, and I found myself getting caught up in the excitement of being a grad student, not simply a candidate in Fiction. The students all had different lifelong goals, from becoming a band director at a middle school to teaching Spanish to high-risk students. Speaking with them, I began to realize how many opportunities graduate school actually provides. (Look for this theme more in the upcoming edition of Horizons.)
Plus, there was free food and lemonade. I don’t know about you, but that’s a good enough reason for me to go back.
The next First Friday event will be October 4, same time, same place as always. Will I see you there?