I have my last in-class meeting next week and then I’ll officially be done with my first semester of grad school! It has gone by incredibly fast: from admissions office work, to open houses, to interning at the Rochester Institute of Technology, to writing countless papers, there has not been a dull moment. Here are some general thoughts that have crossed my mind as this semester comes to a close.
- No one in my classes has had the exact same, or even relatively similar experiences, regarding higher education in general. Yes, we all have Bachelor’s degrees, and the reasons we chose Warner often coincide, but we all hail from vastly different backgrounds. I am learning so much from my classmates who have worked in residential life or fraternity and sorority affairs for years, who are returning to school after working for a period of time, who are looking for a completely different career change, and who have exceptional long and short-term goals in mind. It’s natural, of course, to compare oneself to others, but I think that in this context, we look at fellow students as examples to follow and as teachers themselves.
- Readings outside of class really make a difference. For one of my classes, we were required to subscribe to updates from Inside Higher Ed, a website that provides us with daily news in relation to the future of colleges as we know them. It has become routine for me to read a few of the ones that are sent to me every morning when I first wake up. This has given me a chance to participate in discussions at the beginning of class about where our careers are going to take us and what we can bring to the table as future educators.
- My planner=my life. Writing down my schedule and due dates on a daily basis allows me to, ironically, be more flexible if need be. I know when and where I’ll be in case something comes up. Balance is definitely key! As I am working during the day and attending classes in the evening, it is important to pencil in some “me” time, whether it’s going to a friend’s house, or taking a nap (or several naps).
- Paying attention to special interest emails that are sent out to all students in my program has proven helpful as well. Because higher education places a lot of emphasis on networking… we receive forwarded messages from staff members at other area colleges, advertising internships, full-time positions, graduate assistantships, etc. Some are also posted in BlackBoard, so when I’m double checking when as assignment is due, I can quickly peruse what jobs are out there for student affairs practitioners. Taking advantage of any opportunity that may come your way and the skills needed to achieve that, can’t hinder your progress as a grad student!