What do all of those things have in common? Me. I took a year off after undergrad to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Eventually, I decided to pursue a graduate program in student affairs because “being in college” was the one thing I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. I found a program that would take me a year to complete, applied, got accepted, and made my way to start my new journey. At first, navigating graduate school was extremely difficult for me. I was in a new state and trying to figure out the culture. I was removed from all of my family and friends--I pretty much started an entire new life and it was just me. I was attending a predominantly White institution, after having graduated from a historically Black university, and first time in my life none of my professors were Black. As a first-generation college student, I spent a lot of time in the start of my program feeling lost and uncertain about my ability to perform.
I cried many, many nights. I cried because I felt lonely and sometimes afraid. I cried because I didn’t think I was going to make it. I cried because in attempt to pursue “success,” I’d started completely from scratch and the only person to blame was myself. I cried because before long, my savings started to dwindle and I had to make some tough choices. Facebook told the story that I was accomplished, adjusting, and loving my new life. Yet, my dampened pillow at night told the story that I had made a big mistake and my pride wouldn’t let me turn back—I would be too embarrassed to quit and go home. What in the world did I get myself into?
At the end of my first semester, I was halfway to the mark of having completed my master’s degree. Thankfully, I worked as a graduate student in an office with very supportive team. I got to know a few of my classmates better (as we were a small cohort, they became my friends). I was fortunate to have professors who took to me and were patient as I made sense of my new journey. I had students who, because of them, I had something to believe in—each day I woke up with purpose. Before I knew it, I’d completed my comprehensive exams for my master’s program, and was preparing for the one thing that I never imagined for myself--PhD courses in the fall.
Moral of the Story:
- Transitions can be tough. You have to be patient with yourself and trust the process. In one way or another, things will always work themselves out.
- Do not defeat yourself before you start something new. No matter what you’re doing, there will always be someone who has walked the path that you’re on. Reach out to those people, they’ll help you. Besides, people do not know what you need unless you tell them.
- Life is about learning from experiences. You never truly know if a decision is the best one until you’ve made it. Regardless of how things turn out, you have to believe that all things are working out for your good (even when you can’t see just how things are going to work out). Whatever you do, just keep going.
Love. Peace. Resilience.