As a city kid I would have never thought I would be in a small town. November of 2012, I started looking for graduate schools. I was deciding between Sport Administration and Higher Education. I ended up applying to many and only got two interviews. I was accepted at other schools, but I never was offered interviews for assistantships. I went to my first interview in late February and it was my number one choice. I went to the school and showed why I wanted to be there. I went to a conference that year not knowing where I would be attending graduate school still weighing my top choice. I learned during a session that everyone has to go through a stage where drastic change was involved. I thought for the entire conference if I should be putting my all in to my top school. Unfortunately, I was not chosen. I was told to look somewhere else this fall. Being rejected was the fuel I needed to be where I was needed not an institution that was similar to my own.
I have five steps which are needed for any individual who aspires to be a #sagrad, a #sapro, or a professional in any other field to deal with being uncomfortable.
1. Do not turn down an opportunity because it is different.
Different opportunities create chances for growth. If you do the same thing over and over again and you are comfortable, then you will not grow the proper way. I believe opportunities are provided for a reason and you should not run from opportunities. There are special cases, but if you are being offered an opportunity that is slightly a challenge, then it will help you grow to be the professional you need to be. Remember, diversity is a key factor in this country, so diversify yourself and your knowledge.
2. It is okay to not have everything planned out.
Life is not planned. It is simple that life is not planned because life throws you curveballs and you have to adjust. I was told by many influential people to go with the flow. If you do not go with the flow, it will lead to stress. Stress is also caused by trying to live by a life plan. It is great to have a life plan, but be prepared to shake it up as life goes on. You have to learn to be change the master plan. A key factor to remember, life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react.
3. Step out of your shell.
Being shy is not a weakness and sometimes it is good, but when it hinders you career development, it is bad. In your career you have to step out of your shell. I had to adjust to a new job when I came to Defiance and had to learn to do things I was not comfortable with. Stepping out of your shell is a part of life. You have to be comfortable with actively fighting for something when you stand for it. Just remember, those who stand for nothing will fall for anything, so stand up for what you believe in even though you are uncomfortable.
4. Go where you are needed.
I believe #sabeginnings are all about going where you are needed. If you apply for a job, know everything is based on need. There are going to be thousands of #sagrad students who will be applying for entry level jobs in Student Affairs. These students are going to fill a need and it is important they understand it will be a challenge. When you are looking for a job, you might not get the ideal job you want, but you will be where you are needed. There are a lot of individuals who struggle with the balance of what they want and what they need. What you need will always be more important then what you want.
5. Too much comfort is a negative, not a positive.
If you are too comfortable you are not striving to get to the next level. This is only okay if you are about to retire or you are as achieved as you are liked. If you want to move up, you need to try new challenges and yes, new challenges are uncomfortable. Always strive for the best and now there might be a situation where you will be slightly uncomfortable. You being uncomfortable at times is going to happen and you have to deal with it properly.
The choice I made was to step out of my shell and do something out of the ordinary. I started applying for private schools and schools I never heard of before. I had a mentor tell me graduate school is not about the school, but it is about the program that you are pursuing. The school that offered me my assistantship was a small liberal arts college. I made one of the best decisions in my life coming to a small school. Attending a small school allowed me to define myself as a person and drove me to take more chances. I hope everyone learned something from this post and know you have to keep striving towards your main goal. Just remember to be flexible with your career and know if there are some obstacles to just trust the system.