2014 was an amazing year based on growth, success, and some major changes for my life. Within months, I completed my undergraduate experience, started graduate school with a new graduate assistantship, moved into my apartment in a new town, and started working on new projects within higher education. What made this transition one of the best experiences I had this year was reflecting on how much one can change within one semester.
I entered my first day of work and graduate school fearful of many different topics, concerns, and fears running in my head. I asked “Can I actually be successful in graduate school?” “Can I handle a full course load with my job?” and my major question: “Would I be as successful as my undergraduate self?” For any fellow first year #SAgrads, first year professionals, or just anyone who has taken on a new experience, you know it can be a scary. You think about the new issues, challenges, fears, and most of all, the chances of success. I was so overwhelmed with worries that I called my mother and mentors for support and advice. Despite all these concerns in my head, little did I know that my first semester of graduate school would help me find new ways to emerge as a young professional, learn more about higher education, and make a difference as a first generation grad student.
Top lessons I learned from my first semester of graduate school
- You can do it! All my fears about being successful in graduate school, dealing with a assistantship with my academics, and working at a new university faded once the semester started. I became a co-advisor for a wonderful Resident Advisor Honor Society, wrote blog posts on www.studentaffairs.com, and became a representative of an amazing institution. Just know that your fears and worries are normal! You will be successful if you believe in yourself. Take it a day at a time and don’t be afraid to express yourself.
- You > Stress. As a first year, I would often feel stressed during long weeks, events outside of my control, and running a building on my own. When these moments happened, I would often try to see how I could be proactive and solve these issues before they became stressful moments. My main advice is to remember that you have the skills, support, and network to make your goals a reality. So stay motivated and never stop your path of success!
- Change is good. When I left for graduate school, it was the day before my 22nd I moved into a new apartment, started a new job, had new co-workers, and worked at a new school. Everything in life was happening so fast that I was literally shaking at my first day of work. I was never big on change and as graduate school started, life was changing too much (and too fast) for me! I spoke to my mother and mentors and watched relationships and connections change. At times, it was too much to deal with. Despite my fear of change, I learned that every new experience I faced prepared me for more success and lessons that helped guide me this semester.
- Celebrate your growth. With only two weeks left in my first semester of graduate school, I am reflecting on the amazing journey and experience I have had so far. Some of my major goals included:
Becoming a co-advisor for a organization.
Working on an SA blog post.
Write for a SA blog site (yay SA Grad and SL Collective!).
Creating a new work idea for Residence Life.
Making a difference for myself and others.
Earning great academic marks.
If I didn’t believe in myself and look back at the small successes that I gained this semester, my goals would not feel as amazing as they do now. My advice for everyone is to take time to see how far you have come and know that your path to success is growing. To all you amazing SA leaders, have a safe and healthy end of 2014 as 2015 is a new year of goals, experiences, and memories that you will all make wonderful!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Marsha Herman-Betzen on A Story of a Life in SA