Excited, anxious, maybe even scared: these three emotions took over on the first day of graduate school. I’m sure most #SAgrads can empathize with those! I was so excited to start my student affairs experience – anxious because I had no idea what to expect from my assistantship or professors – and I was so scared that I would mess up my whole career by failing an assignment. Little did I know that those three emotions would only be the start of an emotional rollercoaster of a year.
Here’s what helped me navigate my first year: communicating with professors and supervisors. They are involved in this too! It’s their job to challenge AND support the #SAgrad experience. They probably won’t lighten your load, but maybe they can extend a deadline a little bit. I know it isn’t easy to be vulnerable and let someone know when you’re struggling, but if we are telling our students to ask for help we should learn to do that for ourselves. Luckily, I was not the only one experiencing all the emotions. I’m in a cohort with 17 other humans, and knowing that we were all going through the same (relative) thing was almost comforting.In hindsight, the #SAbeginning of both semesters were the easiest: assignments had not quite kicked off, the professors were understanding of our adjustment to graduate school-level classes, and everything was new and exciting. But about mid-semester was when everything started piling up. It seemed like the professors collaborated (or possibly conspired) to have all of the assignments due during the same week and then decided to call supervisors to schedule programs that took time away from studying. Life isn’t quite as exciting (for me) when I have six assignments, three programs, an off-campus internship, and a broken coffee maker. I think stressed (and tired, and frustrated, and even hungry) might be scraping the surface of the emotions that were going on inside my head.
Also, coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
As the end of the term came to an end, pride and relief came to the forefront of life. There was not a better feeling in the world than turning in the last assignment of the term and realizing that some sort of social life was possible, even if only for a couple of weeks.
#SABeginnings is a month long series that asks SA grad students and 1st year pros to share a piece of their journey with the entire SAC community, new and seasoned. We believe in investing in the future of our awesome profession here at SAC. For more information, check out the introduction post written by Alex Fields.