We’re Not Your “Traditional” Cohort

by Kyle Hickman

Whenever I have a conversation with someone about my graduate program in Higher Education with an Emphasis in College Teaching, people generally assume that I am part of a cohort of other graduate students. In terms of most higher education and student affairs graduate programs, this is a common occurrence. Yet, our story at Texas A&M University-Commerce is a little bit different…

Due to the fact that my program consists of a lot of non-traditional, commuter, and online students, I have met very few members of my actual cohort. Higher Education Administration is the more popular degree option for students (with a great track record, might I add). I tend to interact with more students within that program than I do my own. Funny thing is… I’m not alone on this front. Of all of the graduate assistants that I have met on this campus, not a single one of them shared my degree and very few have similar degree paths.

In light of this lack of a traditional cohort experience, all of the graduate assistants are part of something called “The Graduate Experience.” Essentially, campus professionals coordinate all of the campus GA’s to come together to resemble something that is very similar to your common university cohort. This past year, we had student affairs GA’s studying a number of areas in academia: Higher Education Administartion , Sports Management, Global eLearning, Business Administration, Marketing, Education, and my degree in College Teaching, just to name a few. Our meetings focused upon professional development, discussing student development theory, leadership development, understanding University finances, professional branding, a book discussion, etc. Needless to say, it was a group with great diversity in interests, perspectives, and culture.

Outside of the academic-oriented activities, we simply had a ton of fun this past year! Anything from heading to Shenaniganz in Rockwall for a night of bowling/laser tag, impromptu social gatherings, Texas Rangers games, campus intramural events or the occasional lunch or dinner trip to talk about life. Although it is by no means undervalued, it cannot be stated enough how a group of fellow graduate students can help you get through some tough times personally and professionally. They are a community of individuals who understand what your life is like on a daily basis. They can certainly provide a listening ear whenever it is needed.

As I ascend to my second year as a graduate student, I look forward to developing new relationships with the most recent batch of future colleagues. Yet, I’ll always remember the moments with my 2012-13 #TAMUCGA family, even if some of them should not be mentioned in any public sphere. I will certainly follow the careers of these fellow Lions, in the hope that they find success wherever they go.

Did we win Big Pink Volleyball? No. But it was a heck of a time.

Mid, JB and I froze our butts off at Mid’s first Rangers game

Just a few of us celebrating Halloween in style

Special thanks to Cat, Alby, JB, Sarah, Crystal, Josh, Natalia, Justin, DeMarcus, and others for a great year!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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