The Second Year Starts

Posted on October 20, 2008. Filed under: My Evolution, Uncategorized |

Week 4 is about to start. I am one-tenth of my way through my second and final year of graduate school and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to write about it. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I spent a significant part of both Wk 1 and 2 out of the state and fighting my first real cold in a number of years, but I’m not quite willing or ready for Week 4 to arrive.

There’s something about this second year that feels oddly stressful. I think this comes from a somewhat irrational belief that the start of this year shouldn’t be at all stressful. After all, I should have my full program of study in front of me (NO), be completely solid on my area of specialization (NO), have a clear understanding of the exact departments and jobs I will be focused on come job search season (NO) and have memorized my competency plans like the back of my own hand (Hey, look at that new freckle, where did that come from?). The truth is I have come into this year with much greater expectations of myself and perhaps as a result have been dealing with feelings of inadequacy that definitely rival my first year.

I’m sure that some of these feelings will dissipate as the term unfolds and I create greater structure for myself and my future pursuits. Right now I’m in the process of solidifying my potential change in area of specialization and making sure I can get the classes I need in order to graduate. I’m in the process of developing a plan of action to create new challenges within my assistantship and am looking forward to the new ones that will come my way in my internship with UESP. As for the job search, I’m not quite sure that will be solid any time soon, there are still too many variables at play and I don’t feel obligated to put myself in this or that corner right now. As for the portfolio and competencies well… they are a work in progress. If there is one thing I’ve learned from my organization and administration class thus far, it is that humility can be one of a leader’s greatest strengths. I am humble enough to admit that even after I graduate I will have much to learn about many areas of student affairs. With this being said, I am confident that I have and will continue to increase my capacity to understand and apply all of the CSSA competencies to my daily work and at the end of the day I will be satisfied with this knowledge.

The second year has started out stressful but with any luck it will end with much self-defined success.

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2 Responses to “The Second Year Starts”

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Ruth, there seems to be that dychotomy of being a returner against higher expectations. You aren’t new to your grad program or the assistantship so the learning curve evens out a bit, but you also are seeing that light at the end of the tunnel with all that is expected of you (internal and external) that you describe in your blog.

I was thinking about this a bit more today and I agree with you that my feelings have a lot to do with expectations. Last year I came in and had all these new challenges in front of me, but no one knew the quality of the work I would do and how I would handle the challenges. In some ways I feel like as long as I kept my head above water I was a success. This year it seems like I need to be taking on more and yet I’m not always sure what that should or will looks like. Plus, I have to maintain, no wait, exceed the quality of my work. Perhaps that’s not something I can do in the first few weeks back, but my hope is that it will happen as the year goes along.


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