- Nothing is set in stone. You have to keep working to make things happen. Take it from me, don’t get complacent because you’ll never feel more accomplished if you aren’t staying alert, working on making something happen or making something better that affects you.
- Keep working on your writing. Just write for the hell of it. You had a long year of coming to terms with your writing ability, not realizing that you still have a lot of kinks to work out. You’re a part time poet right? Use that outlet to analyze the pieces that you have written so far. If you can make sense of yourself, you can try to make sense of other sources.
- Beware of senioritis. Just because you’re in grad school doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. By the time you start your process looking for jobs you’ll realize that your trajectory shifts because you are now looking towards the way out of grad school but on the work that’s supposed to be done to help you get out. Which leads me to number 4…
- Get a planner. Get a planner that you will use along with your Microsoft Outlook. Your first year you realized that you really suck at keeping your responsibilities and tasks at bay. You need to carry it with you at all times because you need to make sure you jot down events, deadlines, meetings that you add to your work, academic, and personal schedule.
- Look for opportunities for professional development. Sign up for committees and support groups if at all possible. Take ownership of what you can do. Keep your commitments to the professional associations that you are a part of and try to increase in your involvement. For example, you are now increasing your involvement with ACPA, maybe you can consider attending a webinar, hosting a social, etc. Your interest in the field will only increase once your feet become planted.
- Begin the foundation and value skeleton of your search. This is not to say that you should begin looking for jobs earlier (you may want to begin around the December holidays) however, I think that you should have an idea of the position that you want. Be sure to consider:
- the institutional type
- the institutional values and mission
- campus climate
- the racial diversity of staff representation
- what would it mean for you to work there as a Black woman?
- your qualifications/skills/experience
- Take a professional headshot. Seriously, you need one for your social media sites. Either look to see what your school offers or look to any local options.
- Develop mentoring relationships. Based on your responsibilities at work and the experience you had thus far, you have a lot to offer to your students as well as the incoming cohort of your program. Tell your stories, offer advice, plan some dates with the incoming grad students. Be the role model that you intend to be for others.
- Stay ahead of your academic work. You have the tendency to start off strong and then you fall off somewhere during the middle. This is not to say that things won’t come up, but you cannot use that as a crutch anymore. Keep the energy up and running throughout the semesters and work hard on understanding the content and producing the best work. Don’t wait till the deadlines get closer to use your academic energy.
- Have fun. You have been in Syracuse for almost a year, you need to get out more and make some memories. I know a car is still in your future, but recognize that it may not happen soon enough. Don’t be afraid to be sociable and outgoing even if that’s not who you are. There’s no telling where you’ll be when you graduate so enjoy all that Syracuse has to offer. Keep connecting with your cohort and nearby peers to make things happen. You all deserve a reason to connect with each other.
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Meagan, Karyn, Michael, and Alice, 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.