The Last Break as a (Grad) Student and Looking Ahead As A Professional

By Luis H. Garay

I sit here typing this week’s blog post in the kitchen of my parent’s home while on spring break (#SB14). Hours earlier the house was filled with aromas of my favorite Mexican dishes. I hear my mom talking on the phone with a relative out west in Spanish. My sister is watching YouTube videos in English. The family TV is on the Spanish version of “The Voice.” The puppy is barking as neighbors pass by and barking at the squirrels which daily taunt the poor little guy. Sitting here and enjoying some time off I think, “Wow, this is really my last break as a student”.
For the past 20+ years I have been afforded time away from school through holiday breaks, Easter breaks, and Spring Break.  Also, having gone straight into a graduate program from undergrad I have never ceased to be a student. Even with my graduate assistant, we graduate students have time off this week while the full-time professionals work their normal office hours. This leads to another thought, “This time next year I won’t be full-time graduate student and a full-time graduate assistant. I will be a fulltime student affairs professional.”

It will seem a little weird to not be a student who attends classes weekly and has weekends full of homework, projects, and studying. However, as I’ve come to learn, especially with this profession, we never stop being students really. We become life-long learners. There is always something new to learn in our profession, in education, and the way the world operates. I use to think my student identity will cease to exist but perhaps now it will take new shape and possess new meaning. I know there are other aspects of my student identity which I am forgetting that I will no longer possess come graduation in May and when I start my full-time, professional work.  The structure of the academic year and its breaks will be gone and I’ll have to find time around work responsibilities to find the time off.

Perhaps this blog post is a stepping stone into future blog posts exploring a new identity: student affairs professional. If so, I hope I will still have an avenue in which to write and reflect on this identity.

Any fellow #SAGrad tweeps enjoying this last spring break as a last student break too? For current professionals, how was the shift from graduate student to professional? Do we ever cease to be students really or become life-long learners? Tweet me your thoughts at @LuisHGaray. As always, thanks for reading! 

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