Chosen Family

by Stefanie Lucas-Waverly

I am fortunate to have a lot of beautiful souls in my life. My “by birth” family are extraordinary and loving, but this post is about the folks we choose to let into our lives. The ones who along the way shaped and helped build character.  These are the folks who were there for me when my family could not at various times throughout my life. I can still call any of these folks and count on their friendship and advice. Some might call these best friends, but to me it runs a little deeper.

My chosen family happens to be spread pretty far out, many of them work in student affairs on big and small campuses from St Mary’s College in Moraga, California to the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

As a graduate or new professional you might be far away from your family, but have you started to form a chosen family? I did during my time in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program at Colorado State University. This part of my chosen family helped me through some very challenging times!

If you are a current graduate student, does your program have a program to help pair you with folks across campus to form relationships? CSU’s student affairs program has ram families (we are the CSU Rams). Second year master’s students selected a first year student to serve as their “ram ma” or “ram pa” and help to give advice and guide the first year through the program.

Here is me and my “ram kid” Jenna…

Jenna came to visit me in Minnesota this weekend and we went apple picking! She literally is in the “chosen” family category because of our graduate “ram family,” and luckily our family bond has stayed strong.

If you think your graduate program would benefit from a similar “family” idea, I would encourage you to reach out to your program director.  

Student Affairs - the First Years

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