Name Your Horse

by Olivia Miller

Name Your Horse

This past week I received my mid-semester evaluation at my practicum from my supervisor, and while everything was positive there was one thing that I need to work on – “I think not only about the work she wants after graduation but also about where she sees herself 10 and 20 years out.” While I was surprised to read this initially, it makes sense – as graduation quickly approaches I need to continue thinking about the long road, not just the next stop. Yes, the future is scary, but I need to think critically about what I truly want out of a career – the first job is not the end all job.

The following day I observed a learning community course housed in our Staley School of Leadership Studies. One of the professors came and spoke to the students about hope and naming their horse. This idea of naming one’s horse came from an experience the professor had in his master’s program. His professor asked each of the students to name their horse, a goal of theirs, and work towards that horse. As I sat in the corner of the classroom it became clear that it is now time for me to name my professional horse, and this past week and interactions was the pushing point.

Now, it has been a few days and life has gotten in the way – the Royals are going to the World Series and I am recovering from my first 10k, but life getting in the way is no longer an excuse (because it will always get in the way), to not begin picking names for this horse of mine. I know what I want to do after graduation, academic advising or career counseling – preferably for an international relations program, but what about after that? The world of student affairs is constantly rotating with people moving in and out and up the ladder, so where will my place be in 10 or 20 years?

Honestly, I am scared to name my horse and think about it crossing the finish line in the future. I am so focused on getting my first job that I am having trouble visualizing the next steps. But I do have an idea of what I want, I would love to end up teaching for a Higher Education program. Yet even as I let that out so many things come to mind that cause me to pause and worry (I do that a lot). Getting a PhD is a lot of work, time, money and (shudders) research – can I realistically do it, will I be good enough (a question I ask too many times to count)? As I sit here, I do not fully know the answers, and that is okay, but I do have a name for my horse and that is the first step. What will your horse name be?

Student Affairs - the First Years

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