I have to admit, it feels weird to no longer formally be a student.
I graduated from my master’s program at the end of May so by the posting of this, it has been about two months since I finished 19 straight years of school (K-12, undergraduate years, and master’s). That is most of my life as a twenty-five year old finally getting out into the world as a full-time professional. I am no longer a humble Padawan learner, but a certifiable Jedi Knight ready to take on the world with all that I have learned.
For those who didn’t read my series of job search posts on this very site, I recently accepted a position as a Resident Director at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. I started at the beginning of July so I’ve only been in the position a few weeks. A lot of this time has been spent doing paperwork, training for human resources, and meeting people around campus. The school is a small, private institution here in a small town so everyone knows each other and there is a slower pace to life to be sure (especially since coming from Rutgers in New Jersey).
This time to rest and reflect has allowed for me to appreciate the sanctuary of this campus and the intimate feel it has. I’m definitely looking forward for it to be filled with students so I can see how the ecosystem works in action, but for now, I can really work to listen and understand how this unique place works. After all, time and time again that was the advice I got from some of my mentors and friends about advice they had for me starting this new job. They continually expressed how crucial it was to observe, listen, and learn before making any assumptions or acting as though I knew all the answers already. I definitely thrive in this place, as I am a curious person who loves to hear folks talk about what they do. Nevertheless, as a freshly minted master of college student affairs, I’m eager to jump in the deep end and start doing the work I’ve been preparing for over the past two years.
Even with all my preparation, I know I must temper myself to stay a humble student of the profession, even without a formal classroom to be a part of. I feel ready to tackle anything that comes my way due to the amazing experiences I’ve had up until this point. I have confidence that I have something valuable to contribute to my new team and am already helping develop trainings, contribute to future planning for the campus, and provide other assistance wherever I can.
My lesson from the very beginning of my student affairs journey is don’t let your ego get in the way of a soft landing. This profession can move at a breakneck pace sometimes so take the quieter, calmer, moments to connect with the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your campus community. It is just as important as whatever other tasks you might take away your attention.
Thanks for reading and be sure to stay tuned to here and my personal blog, HigherEdGeek.com for more updates about my student affairs story!