This is where I demonstrate what a good writer I am not because I'm feeling at a loss for words to describe how fantabulous the Master of Food Studies info session was at NYU.
First off, my worries were unfounded. I was running late (I got lost!) so I didn't have to sit through the whole why-are-you-here small talk with the people around me. Second, I found out that the program is actually designed with working professionals in mind. Nearly every class takes place at night (there is the occasional exception, but the daytime class is always an elective). Not only that, but they actually encourage you to go part-time, and we were told that it's usually only international students that go full-time. So no worries there!
There were about a dozen people at the session, which was headed up by the program director, and it appeared that I was probably the second or third oldest person in the room...at 32 years old! But that was going on appearances alone, and we all know how reliable that is! The director told us that only about 50% of the students in the program have previous culinary experience (phew!) and there are only 85 or students total in the program at a time. Sounds like my kind of program!
Then she talked about the classes. Oooooh, the classes!
Food and Culture - how we define and identify ourselves individually and as a culture through food
Water, Waste, and the Urban Environment - study water as a commodity and as a food. NYC's history with waste disposal and the acquisition of water.
Comparative Cuisines - discusses how cuisine changes history. The example the director gave was how the Irish Potato Famine didn't alter Ireland's history, but it changed America's history forever. Those are the sorts of things discussed.
Research Applications - this is essentially your thesis. You pick a topic, either based on an earlier project in your coursework or a new one, and spend the semester researching it. The director called it a "passion project" which, naturally, made me feel woozy with joy immediately. The idea is that it's cumulative and, hopefully, will end with a publishable product. The school makes a whole day of it, starting with breakfast, then the presentations, break for lunch, then more presentations, and then dinner out to celebrate, of course.
Guys, I can't even tell you how good this is sounding to me. The director said it is a very rigorous program, but not a competitive one; given the vast range of food studies, there are plenty of jobs out there to suit the multitudes of interests. She also talked about how close all the students become since it's a group of people that all share a singular passion for food. Not to mention the school isn't too large. I'm just a bundle of energy, nerves, and excitement right now because I know in my heart of hearts this is right for me.
Now, in the back of my head, I have that quiet little voice, saying, "Laaaura...what about that little Newbery committee you want to serve on? What about that ALSC committee you just got invited to...your second committee invite? Are you ready to let some of that drop? Are you?"
But you know what? I'm not worrying about it right now. I just had a whole world open up to me today so I'm just going to sip the flute of prosecco I have next to me and urge the rest of you to pursue whatever interests you, whatever keeps you excited and energized about life. What's stopping you?