Day in the Life: Student Affairs Professional Seeking a Job… Any Job.

Going on three months ago, I graduated (for the second time) as a proud alum of Youngstown State with a Masters of Science in Education, specializing in Student Affairs. I had chosen this field largely because of my extracurricular involvement as an undergrad and my interest in organizational politics. After five semesters of 14 hr days, often keeping me on campus till 11pm, hundreds of pages of papers, detailed projects, writing about my feelings, and a three and a half hour comprehensive written exam, I was qualified to cross the stage again, and this time, with a really fancy hood.

To be completely honest, the last three months of my life haven’t been particularly great. I won’t go into detail, but I’m still searching for my first post-college, adult job that requires one of my degrees. Yeah, it’s been frustrating, and I have been utilizing all the resources available to me. At times, its hard not to be discouraged, especially when its feels like the universe is rubbing it in my face that I don’t have the job yet. However, the family members, friends, and mentors I have reached out to have been nothing but supportive as my search continues. (Thanks, everybody!) A friend and former instructor put it to me this way: I may be perfect for a job, but the job just might not be perfect for me. I know I have a lot to offer any employer, and I would love to work at a college or university, helping students have the same kind of positive experience I was lucky enough to enjoy.

So, you may be wondering… what have I been doing to keep busy? Well, blogging here, to start. I won’t lie — it has been really nice to relax and do the things that I want to do on my own time. I wouldn’t trade my education for anything, but it didn’t leave a whole lot of time for activities. I’ve been catching up on TV via Netflix and Hulu Plus, getting out and walking, and reading the things that I want to read. The great thing about getting a degree, though, is that no matter what, no one can take that away. Regardless of what I’m doing, I’m still a Master of something, which is pretty neat to be able to say. I could tell you about all the things that I’ve been up to now that I’m a Master of Science (which is rather ironic for me, actually… I can’t science anything), but I thought it would be more interesting to show you….

Almost every morning, just like this. Since he’s a small dog, Toby actually makes for comfortable snuggling, unlike all those pictures out there of German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers pushing their person out of bed.

1. There are soooooooo many things on Pinterest…  2. That looks cool. Could I make that? 3. Nah, moving on.

Then I go on Pinterest for a while… a long, long while. There’s hot chocolate in that mug, I’ve never been a coffee drinker. I think I should try to get another degree in Pinning and Board Curation.

Toby has his own YSU leash. He majors in naps, with dual minors in lap-sitting and giving sad puppy face whenever you eat chicken.

If I’m at Brian’s, I’ll take advantage of the pool. Someday, I’ll have some semblance of a tan.

Gotta level up. I never really played video games when I was growing up. I was always too busy with school stuff and I didn’t find them that interesting anyway, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

1. Let’s see here.. what new positions are up?   2. Hmm… this one sounds pretty interesting…   3. Yeah, ok, I’ll apply for this one.   4. Ohmyglob, why are cover letters so exhausting?

This is pretty much how it is.

I’m not giving up just yet. I’m applying outside the world of academia to other jobs that suit me, and I’m considering selling some of my crafts online. (Let me know if you’re interested!) If things look up for me, I’ll let you know where I’ll be taking my talents through a LeBron James-style TV special. Check your local listings.

“Be Careful, Or You Might End Up in My Novel”

My fellow Dames and I have been having an informal conversation of late regarding doing groups of themed posts on the blog to keep things organized and interesting. The first theme discussed is the concept of having goals in life, whether short or long term ones. I didn’t originally plan on writing a post on this particular goal tonight, or perhaps even at all, because when I was casually thinking about my goals this one wasn’t brightly flashing in my brain — even though it is a goal of mine and a very important one.

I’m a very introspective person. I literally spend my time in the past, researching and thinking about how people lived, what and how they thought, and why they did the things they did. It’s probably, in a way, why I read so much. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe I’m a historian because I’ve read so much my entire life — I’ve trained myself to ask those introspective questions. But debating something like that is sort of like asking the question: “What came first? The chicken or the egg?”

My love of reading has always been topically broad — from political thrillers and science fiction mysteries to dramatic love sagas and stories about the bonds of friendship. More recently, though, my readings of choice have gravitated more and more towards historical fiction related titles. Perhaps, then, you could say that my love of reading and my love of history are complimentary and that neither fall into the Latin concept of old that reads “Post hoc, ergo procter hoc” (After it, therefore because of it).

With this devotion in mind, then, it isn’t so far of a leap to understand why my goal is to eventually write a novel. Or two. Or ten. 🙂

Seriously though. I’ve had a desire to write a novel for a while, but it’s something that I vacillate back and forth on, never having quite the right idea, enough time, or enough will power to just do it.

But, I think I may finally attempt it.

Because I have all kind of infinite spare time, right? Over the next 6 months my two main necessities are to a) write a Master’s thesis and b)apply and get into Ph.D. programs, so where could a novel possibly fit in? I don’t know either, but, hey, they do say that the busier you are, the more you accomplish.

So why the sudden decision that this would be my goal to write about?

The universe was sending me ideas today. Ideas for that ever elusive novel. As well as further inspiration to actually pursue it.

I think, in a way, that my anxiety and outright fear over writing my thesis and pursuing a Ph.D. has made me, not surprisingly, think about alternatives. Things that I may be able to do if my plans don’t work out the way I want them to. If you know me well, you know I’m all about plans. I’m prepared. I’m the girl who walks around the amusement park or Disney World with a map firmly in hand, because I have to have a plan. And a plan for the plan. And a plan in case plans a and b don’t work. I know, it’s crazy, but I never claimed to be sane.

Back to my point though. This morning while I was getting dressed, I was watching this documentary on PBS about a terrorist attack in India several years ago. The program included interviews with the survivors, who were very candid about the terror and the other more surprising human emotions that they experienced in the time they were held hostage in two besieged Mumbai hotels. (Here’s a link to the program in case you’re interested: Secrets of the Dead – Mumbai Massacre)

The observations these people had about life and death, about risk and bravery, about love and faith, and about hate and forgiveness gave me some wonderful ideas that I plan on exploring very soon.

I recognized that this program, which I hadn’t even seen in its entirety, had started something working in my brain while I was driving to campus. But, being so busy that sometimes I can’t even see straight, I filed the nugget of idea away in my head for perusal later.

But, the universe wasn’t done with me today.

Tonight, on Grey’s Anatomy, Alfre Woodard guest starred as a beloved novelist who needed brain surgery. She refused, however, to consent to the surgery until she finished her latest book. While some may find the story line sappy or may not care at all, and while I didn’t identify wholly with the show’s characterization of her as a novelist, something in it made me stop and really think. Even though my path is directed towards a Ph.D. and a life as a historian, I don’t want to give up the idea that maybe one day I’ll eventually write a novel.

A professor once asked me whether I was “writing the next great American novel yet.” Not yet.

But some day.

So, what do you think about my plans and/or inspiration? What are some of your goals?