4.28.2008

NYU Food Studies Program: getting my foot in the door

I'm on my way! After a couple emails hounding people at the Food Studies office, I found out how to register for a class in the fall as a non-matriculated student. I think, "Great! I'll stop by the office to pick up the application right before my French class tonight!"

And here I find it necessary to point out that the program didn't have the application available electronically because it had to be filled out "in triplicate." Really?! I didn't know that the college kids today even understood that term! The school is lucky that I'm old enough to remember the joys of carbon paper! I don't know why I should be surprised - you won't find more antiquated procedures than in a public institution. Just ask a librarian.

Anyway, then it occurs to me that the office may not be open as late as 5:30. So I call. Yep, they close at 5:00. Again, really?! How can a program claiming to be designed for the working professional have an office that closes at 5:00??

Never mind, I can do this, I tell myself. So I squeeze out of work 30 minutes early (which is completely justified since I rarely take a lunch break). "I can do this, I can do this," I repeatedly chant in my head. But wouldn't you know it - the F train decides it's going to go local instead of express. And I'm crushed. I can't even pick up an application - how the hell do I expect to juggle a class?! Never mind that I've been juggling French classes for the past 3 semesters - it doesn't matter because I choose this moment to have a crisis of faith. I fight tears the whole trip - I'll never make it before 5:00.

I come up out of the subway at 4:58 so I start doing that half-run, half-walk thing that New Yorkers do, all the while dodging puddles and yelling in my cell phone to Adam about my crisis. I make it to the office on the 10th floor at 5:07. I see the window is closed, the lights are dimmed. Fuuuuuu.....! But WAIT! There's a guy still in there! I gesture wildly to him and he lets me in. Yes, he remembers talking to me on the phone. Yes, here's the application (in triplicate!). Yes, this is what you do from here. Which, lucky me, requires that I return the paperwork to two different offices on campus...before 5:00 p.m. But that's an adventure for a different day - it's 5:15 p.m. right now.

All this, and I haven't even submitted an application to the actual degree program - this is only to take a class as a non-matriculated student. Sheesh.

Fortunately for me, underneath my perky exterior lies one of the most stubborn and determined people you're likely to meet. Stay tuned for more adventures!

Eat, Drink, and go electronic.

3 comments:

Daphne said...

I looked in the dictionary, and next to "determined" is a picture of Laura.

dez p said...

I'm curious to hear about your experiences with the Food Studies program at NYU. I plan on applying for Spring 2010 but am not completely sold on the applicability of the degree to actual jobs.

Laura said...

Dez, it really wasn't for me. First, it was A LOT of work outside of class, as far as paper writing and reading goes. It would have been fabulous if I didn't have a full-time job and a family and a blog...you get the idea. I spent a good 10+ hours outside of class reading. And that was just one class.

More importantly, though, I realized while in the class that I wanted something more practical and more hands-on. Talking theories and history and academia in a classroom wasn't for me.

That said, I liked the staff and my professor, and the students were a driven, diverse, and interesting group. It was wonderful to be in a room with people as passionate about food as I am.

Ultimately, though, I dropped the class I signed up for after several classes. I am now in the culinary arts program at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) - it's much more my style. Read an 800-page book on agriculture in America in the 1800s...or gut a fish? I'll gut a fish. But that's me...

(I mentioned to my admissions contact at ICE that I had considered the NYU program and there was lots of scoffing - according to her, it's not the way to get a job in the food world...but of course she's supposed to say that. Grain of salt and all that...)