Crossing the Finish Line!

With the search season underway for our field, I have begun to reflect on my search that occurred this time last year. The best analogy I can use is that searching for that first professional position out of graduate school is a lot like training for your for your first half marathon for an entry level position.  

You train and prepare for months, hoping that all of these daily runs (applying to jobs) will pay off on race day The Placement Exchange TPE. For the purposes of this post, I will describe my search using the analogy of training for a marathon. Here are some terms that will be used: 
Race day: The Placement Exchange
The finish line: Accepting your first professional position.
Training runs: Completing job applications by submitting a resume, cover letter, and any additional requirements.

I started out small, I ran only a couple of miles during my first weeks. As I got more comfortable, I would run longer distances each day, with some days being designated as days of rest. Regardless, there were a lot of miles put in during my training phase. The more I trained for this race, the more prepared I felt I would be successful on race day. The closer you get to race day, the more “tapering down” I did in my preparation. My focus switched to finding comfortable and reliable clothing for race day. With interviews being scheduled, the more this became a reality I would be running this race.

Fast forwarding to the final days before the race, excitement grew, and I became anxious about what would happen. Just like when running, your supporters, family, friends, classmates and colleagues line the street cheering you on, placing notes in your mailbox and wishing you the best of luck. Sometimes, you run the race with friends, and sometimes you make friends along the way when you are running next to them. In my case, I traveled to Philadelphia with @michaelabeaver and @leonard_clemons so that we could “run the race together.” While in Philly, I made a lot of new friends and met a lot of great colleagues. The people you meet while racing become close friends and will be there when you start training for the next marathon. They can also help bounce ideas off of when preparing for another marathon or for support. In this case, it was @deebaby111.

As the days of the race, approximately three to four, continued, I began to wonder if the preparation I had done would pay off. I wondered if I would be able to cross the finish line. Now, those of you who have run a distance race may understand, but sometimes it feels as if you are continuously running and the finish line appears to keep moving also. This would be the different timelines that schools had. Once race day was over, I stayed for the “post-race party,” the conference. It was a time for me to meet up with colleagues and friends that had traveled to Philadelphia for the race as well as those I met while running. In the end, my training and preparation paid off. I came out rejuvenated to start my first professional position and am enjoying the position I chose after crossing the finish line.

Joe Volin

Student Affairs - the First Years

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