It’s a Wrap!
by Nikki Steinberger
It is over! That's it... Grad school was a long, grueling, challenging, and amazingly rewarding two years and now it is over. I had the opportunity to plan the Hooding ceremony for the 27 graduates of my program and while it was very exciting and fun, I didn't know how to capture all of what we had been through over the past couple of years in just two hours. It was a relatively small ceremony with about 350 attendees. The ceremony was just for friends, family, faculty, and supporters of our specific Master's program, Student Personnel in Higher Education. While we participate in the large scale graduation ceremony with all Master's and undergraduate students for the College of Education, the Hooding ceremony is a bit more of an intimate event for the graduates. I certainly appreciated having such a ceremony; it allowed us to celebrate side-by-side in the same fashion we had been accustomed to over the past two years. We came into the program together, and we left together.
As we were called across the stage one-by-one, each of our professors had been there to hug us and congratulate us. It was an incredible feeling and looking back, I am so thankful that our professional organization for the program, Student Personnel Association, and the various offices of the Division of Student Affairs, worked tirelessly to make such a day possible.
I haven't had to read or write for a class in about three weeks at this point, and I still can't comprehend that I won't have to for quite some time. From kindergarten through graduate school we have been told what to research, read, write, and study. Now it's all on us. As someone who is excited at the thought of starting a Ph.D. program in the next few years, I know I will have to keep up on the current issues and read on my own, but I am in the driver's seat for the first time. That is both an exciting and daunting thought.
I have another month and a half off before I start my first job as a professional. That too, is a daunting thought. It's a funny thing, graduating... I have found myself thinking, 'Now what?' a lot since graduation just three weeks ago. Yes, I have a job lined up and I feel prepared to do the work, but am I prepared for all that comes with being an adult? I think I assumed that once I crossed the stage, I would feel complete... I think I thought I would 'just know,' but that is not the case. I still feel a little lost and a little nervous. Hooding and graduation served as a beautiful, symbolic representation of the hard work we have put in over the past two years, but I have a feeling the hard work is just about to begin, and I hope I can make those whom have made me who I am today, proud.
Feel free to let me know about your graduation experiences or tips on being successful in your first year as a professional @nsteinberger.
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