The floorboards groan under my shoes as I walk into the Highland Coffee House. Backpack over my shoulder and winter jacket zipped up tight to block out the cold, I am out of my element. Oxford is some fifty-minutes away, yet it feels like I am across the country. The worries of the work day, of the residents and students I work with, are gone from my mind. I order a cup of jasmine tea and sit down at a rickety old table and a well worn chair. A night of writing is about to begin.
My comprehensive exam has been out almost a week (six days as of this writing) and I have worked on it each day. This writing project is my final test to pass my graduate program and finally earn my Masters of Science; it has been a long two years and now it is very much in the forefront of my minds eye.
Yet, even in these high stress times (the Placement Exchange is next week, in the middle of my comps writing period) it is so vital for student affairs graduate students to take time away from campus, to get out and refresh the mind. Coming down to Cincinnati for a few hours to work on coursework is a way for me to refresh and recharge. It may be inconvenient and a hassle to get in a car and drive an hour just to set up a writing location, yet I am not worried about work. I am separate from work and truly focused on my writing.
Student affairs graduate students in their final semesters are incredibly busy and stressed. Final projects and finishing up coursework are overwhelming. The realization that, in just a few months, the start of a full-time career is just a few weeks away can be daunting. The never-ending commitments from work and other involvements keep piling up, even as the graduate student begins to transition out of their institution and role as a graduate student. Thus, in this time of tumultuous transition, graduate students need to take time away from the bustle of campus life.
Getting away from campus keeps me calm. It centers me and allows me to have clarity in my thoughts. I can think about what’s next for me and how I envision getting there. I can think about vacations with friends and family. I get a time to sit and truly enjoy a meal, rather than rushing through it. I can laugh with friends and devote my full attention to them.
If you work with student affairs graduate students in their final semester, encourage them to find their space away from campus to reset and recharge. They may not realize it, but they will eventually thank you for giving them permission to leave for a few hours.