One year down.. What?!

I sat down to write this post-first-year-of-grad-school reflection on multiple instances, but each time I was distracted by a whirlwind of graduation parties, Netflix shows calling my name, sunny day outings, and figuring out what to do with all of this “free time” I suddenly had come upon.

So here I am, with fifteen minutes left in my lovely 4-hour summer work day, I found this a highly appropriate time to pause and take a moment to figure out what this past year has meant for me:

While talking on the phone with a friend in the program the other day, I reaffirmed for myself three things: 1) I am surrounded by incredible people, 2) I have more people to call friends than I give them credit for, and 3) I have truly started to figure myself out.

IMG_5000I’ll start with that third one… When I moved here to start my grad program, I had only just begun to start conceptualizing what my identity as a professional even looks like on me. I have discovered that it looks basically like what I have been doing, just more on top of due dates and showing up on time to meetings. I have chosen to try and figure out a plan for a professional identity that doesn’t sacrifice my spirit for learning from mistakes, for wanting to bring enthusiasm to a job, and for desiring to be around only those who love their job (or at least can love it most of the time). Most importantly I do not ever want to show up to an interview and appear to be something that I cannot maintain over a long period of time. I’d probably get fired really fast if I acted like I was some on-top-of-it-all 24-7, organized student affairs professional with a lot of practical experience. As of right now, I am only those things some of the time. I’m working on that last one, but as of right now, I can totally sell each of my semester long internships (shout-out to IUPUI Housing & ResLife, UVM Residential Education Team, and Champlain College’s LEAD Program).

As for the feeling of interpersonal connectedness that I felt I was so wholly missing last semester, it has since begun to manifest. Slowly but surely I have a small, but sturdy, network of people that I have grown to trust here at UVM. I keep coming into new places believing what people have told me my whole life: that I am a social person, a stereotypic extrovert through and through, a people-person. While all this is true, I tend to forget to take care of myself while trying to be that “always-on” person.

ImageWhat I have learned from this experience so far is that I need to go for a few hard workouts every week. I need to drink a lot of water. I need to embrace my disdain for large group functions. And I need to take more bubble baths.

The month that I took at least 2 bubble baths a week was a game-changer. It is the only time of day where I can guarantee that I won’t be worrying about school, money, or my job expectations. And that’s HUGE. Especially for a grad student.

Two things have happened that will make some of those worries a little bit easier to handle this coming year.

1. I got a job with one of the sororities on campus to be a House Director. In short, I live-in (fo’ free) and handle their food budget (grocery shopping) and any facility issues (don’t drink in my house or break anything!).

2. I have “done this” already. I survived year one of graduate school and amĀ this much closer to being allowed to work on college campuses (and get paid well for it) forever. Or for however long I can handle 18-24 year-olds.

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So all in all, despite the hours I spent on literature reviews, reading theories, and plowing through textbooks, and despite the gallons of tears I cried, and the days spent moping, I learned so much about how to keep happy and take care of myself, rather than always putting others first.

I will always have a place for acknowledgments in my life, but I can’t let someone else write my own story.

As always,
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Girlfriends

They’re the ones who can sit next to you on a couch and just let you cry. Not because you’re too sad to talk, or they don’t know what to say, but because they know you. And they know that sometimes you just need to cry. One good cry. I think I’m overdue: and it’s weird to say that and admit I want to have a good cry… but it’s true.

Instead of drowning in tears, I’m going to go to sleep early and fall asleep to my favorite movie of right now: “Away We Go”
Everyone needs to watch it.