Let’s see, where did I leave off? Oh yes, the beginning of my grad school experience! I cannot tell you how challenging, yet fulfilling, my grad school experience was. I learned so much about myself and about working in higher education. I am so grateful for the help and support I received, because I definitely would not be here without it!
I packed up my life the summer of 2012 and drove with my father to Virginia. I immediately started my position as an assistant hall director and knew it was going to be an unforgettable experience. I met so many new great people and was excited to get started in my position. The only thing was…I didn’t, for whatever reason, expect myself to go through a transition period. It got tougher as the months went on and I realized just how much I had changed my life in a small amount of time. I missed my home, and I missed my friends and family….which was surprising because I’ve always been an independent person. I loved my staff and my supervisor, but a lot of the time I felt very lonely. I decided to go home for a visit in October….which was kind of a mistake. It only made it that much header to leave again. But I knew the semester would be picking up and the end would be there before I knew it.
Speaking of the semester, I also found myself struggling in my classes. I quickly realized that academic writing was nothing like the writing I had been doing in undergrad. I had to learn a whole different style and how to do research right away. I was not doing as well as I wanted, but with more experience came better writing.
Second semester was definitely a lot better for me. I finally started to feel more included and welcome, and more comfortable with being autonomous. I applied for an ACUHO-I internship, and got one. I also ran for a leadership position on the e-board of the Higher Education Student Association and got that as well. I worked really hard in my classes and in my position….and in the end, I was awarded as the Graduate Assistant of the Year for my department! I was so honored and thrilled. I felt like all the hard times were actually worth it, and I felt recognized for all the work that I did. It was an amazing feeling.
I then moved to a big city in the Northeast for my ACUHO-I internship during the summer. That was another struggle in and of itself. I probably could have used a break, but there was no stopping because I needed the internship for my program. I was really homesick again because I didn’t know anyone yet again, and it was my first time living in a big city. I did enjoy my work, however, and I liked the different experience I was getting. Yet I was more than ready to return for my final year…or so I thought.
This year has been so very challenging. I have taken my hardest classes, been ridiculously busy,, completed an internship, a capstone, and am in the middle of a job search. Needless to say…I’m exhausted. But I’ve also learned more and grown as a professional and a person. I am job searching closer to home because I discovered I need to be near family and friends. I learned more about NASPA and that I want to be mor involved in that organization. I’ve grown to love being a supervisor and know I want to work in res life for a while longer. I’ve also learned it’s ok to lean on other people when you need to-that’s what they are there for! I am just so excited for graduation and for the next chapter of my life to begin.
I hope that this blog will be relatable, but also educational informative. I hope to post about my experience, articles I’ve read, and anything about higher education that comes my way. I hope you’ll follow me on this continuation of my journey!