Dear Second Year Grads

By Christina Ferrari

I owe you an apology. The last couple weeks I’ve been MIA from the blog, and for that I truly apologize. If your life looks anything like mine these days, I am confident you can understand.  For the Class of 2014 student affairs grads, I wanted to write my comrades a note during what may be the most stressful time in your life thus far. Wherever you are and whatever functional area you have been fantasizing about as of late, know that you are not alone. And you will get through this.

To my fellow job seekers and future colleagues,

You may be feeling like you’re doing all you can to secure your bright, shiny future. You may feel like your cohort and friends in the field are WAY ahead of the game than you are—please don’t.
Everyone told us this year would be rough; they warned us that second semester would be crazy. They gave us mock interviews and reviewed our resumes, they sent us job postings and wrote us notes of encouragement…but no one could have prepared us for the process currently unfolding.
The first years in the cohort behind you look to you in awe as you describe how intersectionality and Chickering resonate with your professional philosophy.  They marvel at the APA skills you’ve finally mastered.

You’ve spent what seems like forever filling out the same information on countless HR websites, toiling away til your fingers hurt. You’ve scoured for hours on the Chronicle, Higher Ed Jobs, and various pages or list-servs looking for what you believe is your perfect fit. Maybe you went to TPE or C3, and still have nightmares of being lost amongst the sea of decked out, school spirited tables. Maybe you didn’t go to a placement exchange, and after hearing the stories of your cohort mates you are glad you decided to save your money and your energy.  

In between the applications and the interviews, you have been slaving away working on your thesis or final portfolio for your program. You’ve been staying up late into the night studying for those comps coming up in a couple weeks. Just when you feel like it can’t get any worse and burning out, you’re trusted with more work at your internship and assistantship, and then of course that big paper for your Legal class is coming due.
What did you get yourself into, you start thinking. That school with the job you believed was a perfect fit never followed up. You bombed the interview you thought you had in the bag. On a really bad night of overthinking, you look down into your pint of Ben & Jerry’s and you start to think maybe you’re not cut out for this profession.  No, you tell yourself, of course you are you’ve worked this hard; you can work a little more. You’ve come this far, you will make it through.  Just a few more weeks you say as you look at your calendar and/or paper chain counting down the days until graduation.
Have faith, second years. Have faith deadlines will be met, projects will be turned in, that the bright eyed first years will be just as anxious as you are now this time next year. Have faith.
 Look at that calendar and/or paper chain, another day behind you. The end is near and pretty soon you’ll have another degree to your name. You’ll be a master. You’ve ordered your cap and gown; you’ve made plans to do that fancy brunch with the family after your big day. You can do this, second year grad. Have faith.
The job WILL come. Do not stop submitting applications, but do stop checking your phone. The calls will come, your time will come. All the work, all the learning, and all the growth over the last two years will pay off. It will, just as it has for so many generations of SA pros before us.  Have faith.

So you’ve only had one on-campus and your friends have had 5? Yeah, maybe they racked up a couple more frequent flyer miles than you have but at the end of the day you will find your job. Just think, this time next year you’ll be calling them from your fancy office phone in your fancy office about submitting a conference proposal together in the fall. Stay hopeful and believe in yourself. After all, you have a whole bunch of folks who believe in you: your mentors, your classmates, your faculty, and your family.  They believe you can do it; you must keep that faith too. Please, have faith.

You’ve done so much in the past 24 months that friends outside the field can’t comprehend how you’re still sane. But you’re pushing through, so stay strong. And when those moments of doubt start to crop up, crush them with those brand new heels you bought for your interviews. Take that negativity and push it aside, right there next to the free time or hobbies you used to have (just kidding, hold onto those hobbies, they’ll make the long days more bearable, trust me). But lose the anxiety, Second Year. It won’t help you or make anything you have going on easier.  Whether you see it now or not, you’re ready for this next step. You’ve done and will continue to do the work, this much is true. So keep your head up, SA grad, focus on finishing the year strong and finding the next adventure for your awesome self to pursue.

We got this.
Your fellow second year grad,


Student Affairs - the First Years

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