Master’s programs in student affairs (and really, early career positions) are one, two, maybe three years. Just because you’re there for a short time doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make the most out of your experiences while you’re here.
This blog is truthfully a reflective piece trying to make me remember that I need to engage fully in my final year of grad school. Even though the job search and the impending new stage in life is very exciting, I still have a solid eight months of life left in graduate school, at UConn, and in the Nutmeg State. I better be making a sincere effort to thrive!
Here’s a few of the things that I’m hoping to accomplish during this year:
- Present research at a conference for the first time
- Pet the UConn horses and cows on Horsebarn Hill
- Leave an impact on social justice practices at my practicum site
- Engage in classroom dialogues (and actually do the readings beforehand…)
- Take at least two weekend trips in New England to see more states – first up, an autumn cabin getaway in Brattleboro, Vermont
- Get a picture with Jonathan XIV in my cap, gown, and MASTER’S HOOD!
But Michelle, the years fly by so quickly!
While we may think that these short life experiences are gone in the blink of an eye, the days and weeks sometimes do feel long. What are we doing in these times to truly make the most of our years in grad school or the first job, rather than looking towards the next step? I know I’m often guilty of being too excited for the next thing and focusing my thoughts, energy, and time in preparing for an upcoming transition. We should make sure that we’re living our best lives academically, socially, professionally, and personally in every moment that we can.
But wait, I’m stilling feeling some type of way about disregarding the job search?
I am, however, not ignoring the fact that a job search in the final year of grad school is a big and sometimes overwhelming process. I’m working on setting some periodic goals for the next several months to plan out my strategy for finding, applying, and interviewing for positions in the field. This will make sure that I don’t forget about the present, don’t ignore the future, and feel like I have a handle on a stressful process that will leave me at times feeling excited, crushed, hopeful, and ultimately (ideally) accomplished in the end.
Okay…but, I think I’d still like to hear some more advice from others who have been in my shoes.
What else should we be doing in our final year of grad school or first professional position? Is there anything that you’ve done (or are planning to do) that we should add to our goals for the year? I’d love to hear from everyone in the comments with any advice for those of us in our last year of grad school!
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following four awesome people: Michelle, Sara, Thalia, and Holly. Join us as they blog monthly about a year in their journey as a new SA Pro or SA grad. We are proud to help them share their stories.