Staying Present

by Olivia Miller

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about four goals I had for the four remaining months of my graduate career. Goal number two was, “be present in the now instead of primarily focused on the unknown future.” So far during the semester that was something that came natural and I did not have to think too much about being focused on the present. However, last week I came back to campus after an on-campus interview for my dream job and I was slipping into the future and the land of “what ifs” and staring at my phone to ring with an area code from 202. After the first couple of days with no phone calls I realized that I was not reaching my goal of being present, but very much the opposite. I was doing a disservice to those around me, and not putting my full effort into my work – a first for me.

It dawned on me that while I am in a unique position right now in my job search, playing the waiting game, I still have a job right here at K-State to put all of my effort and hard work. I have students to meet with and assist in finding the right major, presentations to give, subcommittees to work on, and staff members who look to me for guidance in teaching for the first time. In that article I wrote earlier this semester, “being present will allow me to focus on what I can control – my interactions with the students I am with now.” Once I got myself back in the mindset I did just that – I had two student appointments at both my work and my practicum, I checked in with my staff members to see how they were doing (particularly with the application reviews for our upcoming new staff interviews), as well as have a Taco Tuesday with a former student. I was able to help each of these individuals work through their different needs and current struggles – and I was again present.

It is too easy for those of us in our last semester of graduate school to think ahead and plan for the future, and get caught up in the waiting game. However, we must be mindful of focusing on the task at hand and not losing sight of the work we are already doing. The future will come soon enough, right now we can only focus on the present and give it our all. As they say, “today is a gift – that’s why they call it the present.”

Student Affairs - the First Years

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