vestigialtraits

Bloggers '15-'16
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About vestigialtraits

  • Rank
    Espresso Shot
  • Birthday June 16

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Seattle
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Student Affairs

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  1. So what's it REALLY like?

    The whole reason I wanted to start a blog on here was to try, as realistically as possible, to answer the question, "so what's grad school really like," on this platform that seems to be mostly consumed by "so how do I get into grad school?". Admittedly, when I first started this blog, I had the best intentions of posting more regularly than "those other guys." So here I am, a year later, attempting to make up for it. So here we go, I'm going to break it into sections for the sake of readability. PLEASE, keep in mind, all of this is from my very limited perspective of a first generation, first year, queer, man of color, from the South, living in a major city and attending the only grad program I applied to. Moving cross country to a new city As a general personality trait, I'm a huge fan of change. I get bored easily and like to mix things up. So for me, moving across the country, to a city in which I didn't know anyone was just a huge, exciting adventure. I know that for some people, change produces a ton of anxiety. So for those readers, you'll probably want to take everything I say with a grain of salt. Anyways, the move was great! I ended up really lucky in the housing search and used Craigslist to find both of the apartments I've lived in here. Exploring the city and getting into a routine of going to this grocery store instead of that one and this park being my spot to relax and destress, was fun. Seattle quickly became home for me. Building Community One of the best decisions I made when moving to Seattle was finding housing with folks not in my program, or associated with my school at all. I also joined a church pretty early on. My program has a strong focus on community development and it's pretty easy to make friends within, but for the sake of emotional sanity, it's been great to have friends who have no idea what I do for 8 (or more) hours a day. I'd definitely recommend other folks going to grad school in a new place to invest in a community outside of your program, if possible. Personal Life Despite the media myths of grad school = buried in books and nothing else for the next x years, I've spent more of the past year intentionally building relationships, exploring my interests, and just enjoying life that I ever have. Though, this could very well be contributed to the location of my program in a major city. With my program being pretty small (about 60 folks in total) I have noticed that the internal drama can be exhausting and pretty ridiculous at times. Granted, my field is a very personal one and the culture of the university calls us to bring out whole selves (baggage and all) to the table. Academics In some ways, the classroom experience was exactly what I was expecting, in some ways, it's less than I was expecting, but in other ways, it's way more than I was expecting. As expected, there are lots more reading assignments than I was accustomed to in undergrad. But most of the time, I'm fine as long as I get the drift of what the assigned reading was about. It's less than I was expecting because I often find myself feeling like my classes and those responsibilities feel like an unnecessary addition to the work I'm doing with students in my assistantship and internships; that's pretty disappointing. But at the other extreme, there have been many times when I've had conversations in classrooms that I didn't think could happen in such settings and have genuinely changed the way I think about the world. I live for those conversations, and that's why I'm okay with spending more money than my mom makes in a year for tuition. Financials This is the one area in which I, admittedly, should have done more research before making this huge life decision. Seattle is EXPENSIVE. And, in my particular case, the coveted GA position doesn't cover living expenses, much less living and tuition. This has led to me working part time for a period, and taking out more loans than I expected. This is probably the biggest downfall of my program, but I was privileged enough to not have to take out any loans for undergrad so it's not a huge deal for me and I probably would have made the same decision if I had then, all the information I have now...although I probably would have been a bit more careful about how I spent my savings during my time off between undergrad and grad school. Future Perspectives I definitely feel like my chances of getting a job in my chosen field have increased tenfold in the past year. I've learned more than I could have begun to imagine, and it's made me even more excited to start my career. Also, necessary sidenote, I've reluctantly to see the benefit of strong alumni networks and I'm definitely grateful that my program comes with one of those. Did I make the right choice? 100% yes. If I could go back, I wouldn't change anything. There was definitely a time when I wished I'd applied to more programs, there were times when I wished I would have gone to a program that was fully funded and in a cheaper city, there were times I wished I would have stayed closer to home. But if I could go back in time, knowing all that I know now, I would do it all again. This experience has been, by far, the most life changing year ever, and I'm excited to see where the next one takes me. --- Please, feel more than welcome to send me messages about student affairs, Seattle, moving cross country, or anything else. I'm not as acitive here as I once was, but I will get back to you!
  2. Student Affairs grad program suggestions??

    I'm currently enrolled in Seattle University's program. Let me know if you have any interests or questions!
  3. University of Washington Seattle 2017

    Craigslist is a good place to look for housing in Seattle
  4. HESA 2017

    While I'm not familiar with those schools, I have heard that it's beneficial to have experience at multiple institutional types (both for your resume and personal knowledge when choosing where to work professionally). So if UWM allows the opportunity for internships or practicum at different schools, it may not make a huge difference. But that may be something to take into account.
  5. Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page

    That's terrifying
  6. Student Affairs Book Suggestions

    https://studentaffairscollective.org/product/from-the-beginning-perspectives-from-new-emerging-student-affairs-professionals/
  7. Mental Matters

    I've been meaning to write this post (and another that is hopefully coming soon) for a while but life happens. I was able to go visit my future grad program a few weeks ago and I plan to write about that next but for now, I want to talk about something I think will be a little more universal - the mental side of the grad school process, as far as I've experienced anyway. For me, and I'm sure many others, grad school was always just a far off thing I knew I'd do eventually but didn't put an incredible amount of thought into until I was about halfway done with college (about a year in for me). Then, the time came to decide what program and school I wanted to apply to and it got exciting. I'm a higher education nerd with a bit of wanderlust so it was exciting to me to be able to check out all of these schools around the country, even if it was just through their websites. Next, it was time to apply and the pressure was on. Did I really have what it would take to get in? Did I develop the right relationships for strong letters of recommendation? Is this even the right time for me to go to grad school? It's been 4 months, will you finally just sit down and write the essay?! So after months of procrastination, I finally admitted my application. I just turned in one so that was it, no more stress, now it was just a waiting game. But then, the Internet threw a wrench in my plan to peacefully await a decision. I started looking for stats of admitted students to the program. Did I make the right decision to apply to only one. Did I put too much stock in program location. And a bunch of other things it was too late to second guess considering it was already late January and the deadline for most programs had passed. Then I made a decision that probably wasn't the best for me mentally - I joined gradcafe. I never see it mentioned here on the site but being on here, talking to (and comparing myself to) people I'm essentially competing against was nerve-wracking. That guy has way more experience than me. He conveys his passion over writing better than I do. And even when it wasn't people in my field..you applied to 3 schools? 5 schools? 14 schools?! Man, those odds were way better than what I gave myself when I only applied to one. My stress levels skyrocketed but I was still in the same exact position of not being able to do anything but sit around and wait for a decision. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was only actually a couple of weeks, a decision came through. I got in! I was accepted to the program of my dreams and I was thrilled. But that feeling of pure elation barely had time to settle before I started doing more stress-provoking Google searches. Now I was comparing other programs to my own. That one offers more funding? That one pays for travel to interviews? That one offers more assistantships? All things I could do nothing to change. A few weeks later, I was able to visit my new school and meet other newly accepted students. Many of my fears were soothed. I wasn't the only one worrying about those things. I couldn't have been happier with the campus, program, and professors once I was introduced to everything in person. I didn't feel imposter syndrome even when talking with all these other great people were also admitted and the current students who seemed to be on a completely different level. After that weekend, I left completely happy with the results of my progress and have barely been on gradcafe stressing, doubting, worrying since. Now this isn't to say that I think gradcafe is bad. It's great to connect with others that are in the same situation as you, have the same interests as you, and understand the struggle of putting yourself through this rigorous process. But your own mental wellness should also be taken into account. There's always going to be someone who's application is a little stronger in some area. Maybe their GPA is one point higher or they went to a brand name school in the field or they have more research experience. But you have to trust YOUR process (not the process) and realize you have just as much right to be in the admissions pool as the next guy. The grad school process is all about selling yourself, trying to get a school to realize you're a good stock to invest in. So at the end of the day, you and the work you've done up to now are all you have to rely on so don't lose faith! You're great. Now you just have to get an adcom to realize that
  8. One was Enough

    That's so fantastic to hear. I'm really happy things worked out for you. I wish you all the best in your academic and professional aspirations!
  9. One was Enough

    Man, that's really rough. Most of the people that posted on this entry though, including myself, only applied to one program so I think posting this on another thread would yield much better results for you. I'll try to be of some help though. I don't have much advice for the GRE because I only took it once and ended up not even using it to apply to the program I was accepted to. But if my memory is correct, there's at least one thread specifically about the GRE on the application part of the site. As for getting the schools to see that your military service is applicable, I would try explicitly stating that somewhere in your application, if possible. Whether that be in a statement of purpose or a cover letter. The program I applied to is more objective and qualitatively based as opposed to quantitatively based though so your application process may be completely different from mine and that may not be possible. Long story short, I'm not really qualified to speak on any part of your comment and suggest you post it in another thread to yield more helpful advice.
  10. One was Enough

    This is such a great story! I'm glad it worked out for you too. Congratulations!
  11. HESA Masters 2016

    Hey guys! Just wanted to drop in and say I hope everyone is doing well. If you have interviews or visits coming up, may the odds be ever in your favor! Sending good vibes~~~
  12. One was Enough

    I agree with the last point blacknighterrant made. All we can do is speculate, we can't get into the minds' of the adcom. It sounds like you put your best self forward in your application and that's all you can do. Now, you just have to sit and wait and hope. I also agree that lining up a back up plan isn't a terrible idea. Not because I think your application sounds weak but because you really never know.
  13. One was Enough

    I think what you're essentially saying is - don't doubt yourself, reach for the stars. I 100% agree with that. The field I'm interested in, Student Affairs, is pretty different from research based fields though. While it makes sense for research focused applicants to apply to a lot of different schools because, after all, their research focuses and progress in that research is what really counts. But in SA, connections and networking matter a lot more than I think they do in those research fields. And obviously no 2 schools will have the same faculty members that teach the same way and focus on instilling the same ethical and personal values in their students because it is a very subjective field. So while applying to more schools may have made more sense in terms of increasing my probability of getting accepted, going to a school that was say my 5th choice and I was not completely thrilled with the culture of would not fulfill my wants and needs in a masters program.
  14. One was Enough

    After being on this site for a while, I realized that applying to just one school made me one of the few, the proud, the...naive? I felt confident about me decision until I logged on here and realized people were applying to 4..5..14!? schools. And I started thinking I might have screwed myself. But then the news came -- I was accepted! To say I was elated would be an understatement. To keep what could be a long story short: No, I don't advise just applying to one school even though it worked out to me, it's always nice to have a backup plan. But if just one school gets your blood flowing, you think it'd be a fantastic fit, and you realistically think you could get in, go for it! Don't let other people psych you out. You know you better than anyone else and this is your process and yours alone. One was enough for me and I couldn't be happier with that decision.
  15. Did I Set Myself Up for Failure?

    I really appreciate your thoughtful response. I actually heard back from my program last week and was accepted! I'm planning on writing a blog post about that, and a few of the things you mentioned in your response, soon.