Hey everyone! As each month continues to pass by I feel myself growing more positive and confident in myself as a young professional. At the same time, I remember how confusion, fear, and jealousy permeated my life when I first began writing for this series last fall.
At the time I blamed myself for being unable to fully invest into my job search, but eventually frustrations from my personal and professional life led me to mistakenly blame others too. I feel as if my writing carried a despondent tone, and worst of all, stress from outside the Writing Center was beginning to affect my attitude there.
Alleviating that stress and losing that attitude would’ve been impossible without first leaving the student newspaper like I described last month. Second, working with a supervisor you can trust and be open with is incredibly valuable.
When I first began grad school I didn’t have a strong relationship with my supervisors. We didn’t click too well and truthfully, I felt like pursuing a mentor-mentee type of bond came off as a burden to them. I was immediately turned off.
I was so scattered during my second year of grad school, with two jobs and an internship, that I thought I was still without someone specifically who could fill this strong supervisor/mentor role. I’ve since realized I was wrong.
My supervisor is an outstanding boss. He makes working with the Writing Center something I can look forward to each week. He empowers everyone in the Writing Center through the autonomy he provides us with. We’re trusted to make appropriate decisions when planning workshops or working with students, and this trust goes a long way in establishing a good bond between a supervisor and his/her subordinates.
This semester, my supervisor offered me the opportunity to work with him closely through a new leadership role. I jumped at the offer, but I also realized that in order to be successful in this role, I couldn’t run from stress any longer. I had to confront it.
My new position as Writing Center Coordinator requires me to split my time between administrative tasks and working one-on-one with students. Helping students find clarity in their writing assignments has always been cathartic for me. I’ve been in these students’ shoes before, confused, lacking confidence in my own writing, but with guidance I always found a way to succeed. Meanwhile, taking on more administrative tasks will undoubtedly provide me with experiences that will be conducive to my search in the future.
One task involves facilitating weekly training sessions for my fellow consultants. However, some weeks my tutoring schedule is full so finding time to craft a session worthy of my coworkers’ time is difficult. I thought about just dealing with it like I had done in the past, and then I realized how silly I was. Instead, I spoke to my supervisor, made him aware of my concerns, and then the presentation was postponed so that I could adequately prepare!
I can’t emphasize this enough, but the feeling you get when you realize you have a supervisor you can be open with is amazing!
Had I been in a situation like this with previous supervisors, I would’ve just carried on, gotten stressed out, lost sleep, and whipped something up for my coworkers in the eleventh hour.
Whether you have this relationship with a supervisor right now or not, I think we should all be empowered to ask questions, or more specifically, express our concerns. Take it from me, the longer I went without articulating my concerns, the longer I suffered from stress. If something comes up that conflicts with your schedule, say something, or ask for help!
Not all supervisors are capable mentors, and a good mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be your supervisor. I fell into this relationship where I have both, luckily. Establishing this type of mentor-mentee relationship requires work from both sides, but our productivity shouldn’t suffer from the lack of a positive relationship with a supervisor, or the lack of a true mentor.
I’ve worked with students’ writing for about three years now, and during those three years I considered going into housing, maybe student conduct, or admissions. Meanwhile, I was right where I wanted to be, where I needed to be, all along. This longevity means a lot to me and my career plans seem less cloudy now as a tangible future is within reach.
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Alexandria, Doug, Emily, and Alexander, as they blog monthly about 1 year of their journey as either a new SA Pro or SA grad student. We are proud to help them share their stories as they break into our field.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Quint Geis on #SAGrad, Life, and Job Searching