“Tell me, what will you do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
Hi, my name is Emily Stulz and I am currently a second year graduate student at Northern Michigan University (NMU). You can find NMU nestled along the shores of Lake Superior in the gorgeous Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in the close-knit community of Marquette.
I’ve been lucky enough to live here my entire life and blessed to have been able to find the things that drive my passion for life here as well. I received my undergrad in Multi-Media Journalism from NMU and spent four spectacular years living in the residence halls (two years as a resident and two years as a resident adviser), during which I participated in a multitude of different student organizations and found new experiences in leadership and volunteering. At NMU, I’ve discovered many things about myself, but the most important thing I have discovered is a burning desire to help students succeed while in college.
Currently my work in student affairs is not grounded in face-to-face student interactions, as my graduate assistantship in the Marketing and Communications office centers around creating social media content, monitoring social media accounts, and updating web sites, taking pictures, and anything else that needs to be done.
However, my graduate assistantship has allowed me to take many of my passions (which you’ll hear about throughout the year, I promise) and reach more students than I ever realized possible. I am able to touch the lives of thousands of students, without them ever realizing who I am or what I am actually doing for them. And that—that is more meaningful than I ever could have imagined.
Because my graduate assistantship is a little more removed from students than others might be, I’ve been working to become more involved with students through other avenues. This fall, I am starting an internship with our newly created first-generation program while also working as a teaching assistant for a first-year experience block. With each new experience, I find myself in additional turmoil as I attempt to narrow down my career trajectory in student affairs. I love everything I have done, but unfortunately there is no such catch-all job.
So this is me! I’m excited to share my journey with you, and I hope that through my posts you can really see all the different facets of myself. In my quest for this, I struggled for a really long time on how I wanted to approach this post. I wanted you to meet me in the most honest and promising way without feeling like you were in the midst of hokey online dating profile. Because of this, I chose to start with a quote, as they are a huge part of who I am, how I define who I want to be and how I find motivation to achieve my goals.
When I think of Mary Oliver’s words, I find myself reflecting on the things that make my life so precious: the people I have in my life, the experiences I have been able to enjoy, and the many years I have ahead of me to continue my growth. These give me the motivation to continue to learn more, to be more focused, and to continue doing what I know I am meant to do: work with students. The pretense of it also resonates well with the whole idea of pursuing a higher education—what exactly are you going to do that will shape your life afterwards? Part of what makes me so excited about being involved in this process with students is being able to see how their own journey progresses.
I’d love to hear how this quote affects you. Does it help you re-evaluate your goals? Does it help you clarify your path? Or do you find that it just inspires you to live your current life with more fervor instead of being pulled down by the daily grind of emails? Let me know what you think.
I’ll be back in September. Wish me luck! My new semester starts on August 24 (Monday!) and I am beyond excited to break in my new organization system.
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.