A Constant Mix of Work and Vacation

by Eric Mason

Until I moved to Las Vegas, I had difficulty picturing it. Not only do people live in America’s Playground, but there are close to 2 million of them? This was a spot to escape reality, not become it. After living here six months, I can truly call this place home. I love my daily commute with Mount Charleston, Red Rock Canyon, and the Strip. It may not be the typical city skyline, but Vegas is not a typical city.

For those of you moving far away to begin grad school, I urge you to get involved in your new town. Own it. Grad school is so time intensive that every hour spent researching or writing becomes validated when you see the impact education and schools has on communities. Las Vegas residents originate from all over the country. With no professional sports teams, it is the UNLV Running Rebels that unite the city. The town may have issues with culture and an identity a times, but UNLV provides a major outlet for unity.

Locals avoid the Strip more often than not. It tends to be expensive, clogged with tourists, and a parking nightmare (at least that part is free!). I never complain when family or friends are in town, though, as it gives me a chance to play tourist for a day or so. My cousin and her boyfriend were in town last weekend. As a middle aged woman ran past us spilling a margarita and yelling “EDM!”, they wondered how I lived in this city.  Many people forget that there is an entire metropolitan area beyond the Strip, and this, to me, is the part I love most.

Despite the myriad of distractions, I am proud of what my department does at UNLV. The school is primarily commuter and many students are non-traditional. My work in the Academic Success Center is so humbling. Seeing a woman in her mid-thirties master derivatives after fifteen years away from school makes every hour I work in tutoring worth it. Student affairs is a very  time-intensive career; one gets out what he puts in to it. If my current assistantship is any indication of future career satisfaction, I know I have chosen the right career, and the eclectic nature of Las Vegas pushed me in the right direction.  

Student Affairs - the First Years

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