Navigating the Waiting Game

By Lindsay Ritenbaugh

This is an oldie but goodie. I originally posted this as part of the #sagrad blog for Careers in Student Affairs month last October. Whether you are an aspiring #sagrad, one ready to enter the job search process, or even a professional ready to embark on their next adventure, these are important steps to remember: 
You’ve completed your grad school applications. Now you get to play the dreaded waiting game.

Whatever your situation, here are some things to keep in mind:

1.     Do not compare yourself to others.  You completed your own application and you have a detailed resume full of your experiences and accomplishments. Don’t discount your own when comparing yourself to your “competition.” You obviously bring a lot to the table—that is why you are interested in a career in student affairs. Own it! Don’t let those around you intimidate you with their demeanor or apparent extensive experience. President Theodore Roosevelt said it best: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

2.     Find a support network of both aspiring grad students and friends.  It was extremely helpful for me to remain connected through Facebook groups and other means with the people I met at visitation weekends. I do have a disclaimer, however: Find a healthy balance between 1 and 2. While collaboration and meaningful connections with others is paramount, be cautious not to compare your assistantship offers (if any) with those of others you have met on different campuses. It may at first seem exciting when you feel like you’ve made progress in your search. But when all is said and done, people will choose one institution and have one assistantship. In my opinion, is not necessary to blast social media with your offers. It can have negative implications for others and become a thief of their joy. This is also important to remember during your internship search and eventual job search.

3.     Trust the process.  Cliché as it sounds—you really will find the best fit for you. I was completely set on a different institution and ended up with the assistantship of my dreams at another university. Everything will play out accordingly if you trust your instincts. For those of you who have gone through a form of recruitment or intake—I equate this to finding a home in a fraternity or sorority. Ask questions, take good notes, let your qualifications and confidence shine, and you will come to find a home in your student affairs program.

Are you looking for a counseling based program or something with more of an administrative track?
Do you need a cohort model?
Ideally, how many people would you like to have in your program?
What makes this program and/or assistantship appeal to you most?

These are excellent questions for your hosts, buddies, or panelists during visitation and interviews. You are a critical consumer as much as the program is throughout this process. Worry less about whether or not you will get the assistantship that interests you most. Concern yourself with what you have to bring to the table.


Student Affairs - the First Years

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