Is the placement exchange (TPE) the next step for me? Over the last couple months my current position has changed to grant me more responsibility, the type of responsibility that I was hoping to find in my next position. So, while I have every reason to attend TPE, I think I’m going to pass.
Ironically I say that as I sit in the middle of winter break, about to submit an application for a position to be filled immediately elsewhere. My #SAsearch has been an interesting, frustrating journey…but midway through my gap year I feel like I’m finding where I want to be.
I passed on TPE last year in favor of staying in Mobile, Alabama, for personal reasons. Yet I’m currently copying and pasting information from my resume into this web-based application form just for the sake of knowing what my options are.
Still, I can’t keep the following questions from crossing my mind:
- Why am I doing this–am I just setting myself up for more disappointment?
- Is there something they’re looking for that’s absent from my resume?
- Am I a good candidate for this position?
- Heck, will this institution even reach out whatsoever?
In the midst of these questions I’m reminded of a quotation from an article I once stumbled upon:
“You go on social media and only see the amazing things people are accomplishing but do not see the paths they took to get there. You feel like you’re not doing enough — not traveling enough, not making enough friends, not working out enough, et cetera,” said Cassidy Bolt, a 19-year-old Duke student.
I like this quote a lot. Given my current situation I wonder, did this 19-year-old Duke student unknowingly encapsulate my #SAsearch?
Before I go further let me say this, I love when our friends, colleagues, peers (whatever!) find work in higher education; after all, it’s hard not to be excited for the #SApros and #SAgrads you’ve come to know through SoMe. But as I also apply for positions, sometimes even the same position someone else is excited over, I sometimes wonder: why isn’t that me?
In these moments I remind myself: there’s more to everyone’s journey than meets the eye. Maybe it’s in our nature to tailor what we share online, to manage the impression we give off so-to-speak, therefore frustrations are hardly as voiced in comparison to moments of triumph. So essentially, don’t be like me and worry that all is lost simply because YOU’RE not the one getting the callback YET!
After reflecting on months of stress and pessimism, I’m honestly happy with where I am on this journey. Could I be happier in a position with more pay? Of course, but in the meantime I can stay busy pinpointing what exactly I want my career focus to be.
Discussions with family, friends, and even old supervisors have helped. I’ve told them all how I feel as if I’m putting myself in a position to be pulled in a handful of different directions, never being able to truly commit myself 100% to any of my interests; for example, helping institutions of higher education embrace environmentally sustainable practices, managing a writing center, or working in advising (specifically with first generation students like myself).
If I would’ve earned a position elsewhere already, and therefore be happy knowing I’m in a larger role title-wise, I would’ve been shielded from many of the experiences and opportunities that have become available during this “gap”.
For example, let’s look at my passion for environmental sustainability in higher education. Only at my current institution, where I’ve devoted considerable time to enhancing the University’s stance on sustainability, could I be offered a spot on the President’s Sustainability Committee. The experience contributing to this committee will be invaluable to me, and the school should get something out of it too!
What I mean to say is, despite the journey being long and arduous at times, there’s an opportunity for you to still excel if you know where to look. Also remember, don’t judge a celebratory Facebook post by the text; we have no idea how much work each of us are putting into the positions we earn. 🙂
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.