by Ryan Morgado
Grad school came and went. Almost like a blur. I mean, if 5 years of undergrad felt like a day, then the 2 years of grad felt like a moment. I knew I was going to get an education, I knew I was going to get work experience, but I didn’t know how much I would come to appreciate my cohort. We took classes together, worked together, struggled together, succeeded together, and were vulnerable together.
Our professors did a good job of keeping us, as grad students, grounded. The grad program was a time to explore all of our hopes and dreams as aspiring professionals. They told us that we wouldn’t see all of our dreams realized during our first job, we probably wouldn’t use developmental theory on a daily basis, and we wouldn’t be able to cut through the long standing red tape at whatever institution we worked at within our first years. But, our professors encouraged us to dream big and plan ways to fulfill these dreams, they reinforced that the times we use developmental theory will only strengthen our understanding of it, and they filled us with enough ambition to find ways to chip away at the red tape over time.
Going through such a process as a cohort gave us the opportunity to see each other during a time when our passions for this profession were igniting. We were vulnerable during our exploration of all the new information this grad program brought us and what we wanted to do with it. Because of that, these people understand me in a way that is difficult to explain to those outside of my cohort. So, when I have a failure, a frustration, a success, or an average day, it’s easy to rely on a network of people who understand where I’m coming from.
I don’t say all of this to devalue the relationships I’ve built over the 4 months of working at my new university, but there is something to say about an established network. If you choose to move somewhere where you have little to no connections, like I did, you will appreciate the company of those that understand you, ten fold. Those in my cohort understand me and I call on them when I need support.
This is a thank you to my cohort for being vulnerable with me and allowing me to be vulnerable with them during a unique point in my life.
To those of you still going through a student affairs grad program, cherish the time you have left with your cohort and don’t be afraid to lean on each other, even after graduation.