The Final Act

It is a strange phenomenon to be stuck mid-stride; that is what most final semester student affairs graduate students must be feeling right now as we start our final semesters of graduate school.

The feeling is incredibly difficult to explain. You feel tired, anxious, and full of energy. The possibilities of the future (the ‘post grad’ life) are endless, yet daunting. The desire to discover where you will start the next chapter of your life in just a few months is intoxicating as you become fixated with the job search process. The immense fear of those possibilities lies beneath any hopeful conversation.

Of course, the attention of the student affairs graduate student is not fully fixed on the future. The reality of the current situation is very clear to the graduate student. They still have assistantship duties, coursework, and a personal life they must continue to balance. A strong desire to finish strong and leave a positive legacy is, perhaps, the goal of the student affairs graduate student. Or, the simple desire to leave and finish the graduate school experience is at the forefront of their present mindset. Either way, this feeling of stuck mid-motion is real.

Focusing on two realities is a challenge. On the one hand, I want to devote my every waking minute to applying to jobs, preparing for interviews, and finding the right fit for my first real job. On the other hand, my attention is fixated on the job at hand… I have students I need to work with and educate. I have coursework that needs to be completed and meetings to prepare for. The balancing act has never been more of a struggle up until this moment.

Maybe that is the real test of graduate school; how you finish. All the internships, meetings, coursework, presentations, and projects have been trials for this final challenge: balancing the desire to leave and move on with the desire to finish strong and be present. How we finish, coupled with how we transition out, is what defines us.


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