During graduate school some students push themselves to experience multiple functional areas within students affairs. Others students complete their experience with more in-depth experience in one assistantship. Depending on the program and the opportunities that it provides, it can be difficult to get varied experiences. Still, many students still have a clear focus and “dream job” in mind when starting their master’s program. Graduates may search for months trying to find the dream job, but not everyone has this luxury.
In my last semester of graduate school, I worked as a graduate assistant in student life. As graduation approached, my dream position became vacant. My dream job was within reach and I put everything I could into my assistantship. I worked hard, volunteered to chaperone events, and was always available to my colleagues and students. I truly loved working with students on campus, and loved going to work. Everyday I was excited to interact with students, guide them through their college careers, and learn from them.
Still, my dream job did not become reality. I was heartbroken, felt betrayed and confused by the decision. With pressure from various aspects of life, I knew I needed to find a full-time position before I graduated.
After the rejection, I pushed myself to apply for positions outside of student life. After numerous interviews and applying for positions I never thought I would consider, my current role has been one of the best experiences I’ve had. My current role in career services gives me the opportunity to interact with students as well as employers. I enjoy having the perspective to the job search process from both angles, and using this information to help students be prepared for their interviews. This position has pushed me outside my comfort zone and opened up my eyes to recruitment on a college campus.
As a recent graduate who was set on working in a specific area of student affairs, my advice for the job search process is to be open minded. For my career moving forward, I am enjoying my new position and looking forward to growing as a new professional.
October is Careers in Student Affairs Month (CSAM). While increased awareness of entry-points into the field are important to highlight, CSAM also serves as a way to discuss the larger culture of student affairs. Our pursuit of ensuring student affairs staff is representative of diversifying student demographics can’t come at the cost of health and well-being of staff. Add your voice to the conversation by using #CSAM17. Have ideas about a future series for the Student Affairs Collective? Contact Nathan Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org.