Pursuing Higher Education As A Young Male
I remember a few months ago being afraid of where life would take me after my undergraduate years the future was so unclear. Constantly asking “Where will I be after graduation?” and now I am here as a student affairs and higher education graduate student. As a young male, I never realized the impact this would make on my life while pursuing higher education. I feel that the career choice I am making impacts not only myself as a young men but also all Men of Color. When in a cohort or program to see the small amount of diversity is tough. I am constantly reminded that I am a Man of Color in the classroom and have to advocate on how I feel about where I stand in the classroom. I am not saying this is a bad thing by any means, however I feel there is no choice. Due to the small amount of representation, I have to feel the pressure of how hard I had to work to get in the room or program or why I feel strong about social justice and equality for all. Yet seeing the different dynamics and perspectives other than my own has been such a great experience. Everyone has a story to tell and different dynamics.
Going Straight into Grad from Undergraduate
I decided that after graduation I wanted the summer to intern at a different university and get back into the swing of things for my masters program. I now realize why some people take a year off. Do I regret going into it? No, not at all! However, I do see why people take time to give themselves a break from the intense work life. It is a lot and sometimes you have to realize what is more important. Is it getting ahead? Or just taking time to relax and enjoy some time to get readjusted? I’m just now aware of making sure you take care of yourself and make sure that there is a balance.
I feel that mentorship is key especially for young males. Understanding how to navigate in higher education without mentorship could be difficult. I know without the support of my mentor or networking with colleagues who understand diversity has helped me tremendously. There is no better feeling of knowing that you can OPENLY express your concerns of challenges while going through the process, so making sure you have that open communication is key.
NASPA has really helped me see the importance of diversity. I was a NUFP in undergraduate and currently a NASPA Graduate Associate. I have such a strong love for the organization and I truly appreciate the initiatives it has for education and Men of Color.
Don’t Let Age Dictate Your Success
Being a young professional and a young male, sometimes people may just consider you as just the “graduate student” or the “young professional” who may not know a lot and that may not be the case. You are just as qualified as anyone else so always put your best effort forward.
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” -Malcolm X
> BONUS <
Podcast With Becca Obergefell on Women in Student Affairs