Everything I Want to Say in My Reflection, I’m Saying Here

By Tolu Taiwo
@tolu_Aderonke

Yesterday, we had to turn in a semester review/reflection for our portfolio. I don’t know about you, but it is nearly impossible to fit a semester’s worth of lessons in our “minimum of two pages” requirement. I got to about six, sans title page, looked at the clock, saw that I had twenty minutes to submit the paper, and decided to wrap it up (procrastination, thy name must be “Tolu”). I’m a bit mad at myself that I wasn’t able to include more in my reflection, but I figured that I could impart the rest of the lessons I have learned in this column. For everyone looking to into a student affairs graduate program and wants my two-cents, anyone who was in a student affairs program and wants to reminisce, or anyone who is in a graduate program right now and needs a break from studying from finals and: this one’s for you.

If People Aren’t Your Best Friend, it’s Not the End of the World

I have a general feeling that everyone in the first and second cohorts don’t mind me. However, I do know that it’s impossible for everyone to be best friends with everyone. And I know that I’m not the first choice for some people to hang out with, and I’m no more than a friendly “hey!” to others. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s something that bothered me a lot coming into the program, but now I’m fine with my social status here (kinda. I’m working on it. See “I Worry. A Lot).

“No Man is An Island”

On the flip side, I have learned that student affairs graduate students all need a few people to trust and to love, and we can’t go through our programs alone. I have been fortunate to make some great friends here, and learn what it means to actually call people “friends.” So many of my cohort mates have pulled me up when I’ve been down, or took the time to make sure I was okay, or have given me great advice, or have accompanied me to get ice cream, or have made me laugh so hard, beverages have come out of my nose. I would call them my friends for life, and I hope I have given them as much as they have given me.

I Worry. A Lot.

My supervisor and I joke that I have a worry box, where I put in all my anxieties and problems, and pull them out every five minutes to constantly look at them. Well, it’s not so much of a joke as it is a truth that my supervisor confronts me about, and then I start to worry about not worrying, and then he finds out; repeat cycle. There’s a lot, and will always be a lot, going on in the SAHE program and in the student affairs world. You definitely have to give things your all, but sometimes, you can’t worry about every little thing. It’s not healthy, and it’s honestly not helping anyone. Do what you can, and then let the rest go.
(Chant until true.)

Learning About You

Learning about yourself throughout the graduate school process is wonderful. It’s also one of the hardest things you will ever do. I appreciate who I am today, and grateful for the opportunity.AND. It’s been a challenge to learn that I’m an anxious person; it’s been disappointing to see that I’m more introvert that I’d like; it’s been hard to learn that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t focus on who she is when in a relationship; it’s been tough to realize that I don’t make friends and trust people easily. But through all the hard lessons, something great will come out of this experience. It’s kind of like how, to make a pearl, something disgusting has to go through a lot of pressure in an oyster’s mouth. Or something metaphor like it that I including in my portfolio. I don’t even know. Our portfolio professor is going to have a great time reading mine.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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