How Far I’ve Come: The Past 5 Years

by Olivia Miller
@olive9124

As our Student Affairs First Years blog celebrates five years, the writers are reflecting on our individual past five years. For me, five years ago (late January/early February 2012) I was a junior at K-State trying to get through my roughest year of my undergraduate career. I loved my classes, but outside of class I was struggling. I was no longer on good terms with my roommate and unsatisfied and frustrated with my current on-campus job. Flash forward five years, with two diplomas, a major life change during my first year of graduate school and now I am a Student Affairs Professional. Here is my past five years.

January 2012: Where the story truly begins. I applied to be a Career Specialist at the Academic and Career Information Center (ACIC) and went through the entire interview process only to get a no. However, due to some budget increases (possibly the last instance at K-State); I was hired and began my training – and unknowingly my student affairs journey. This job was my turning point; I would not realize it for another two years.

January 2013: I am a senior working at ACIC and loving it – helping students figure out their major and career path while I was set on mine. I would be graduating in May with a degree in Political Science and International Studies with a dream to work for the State Department. A few weeks later, I would be accepted into K-State’s Security Studies master’s program and I was set.

January 2014: First year of graduate school and it is rough. My first semester was alright; I enjoyed my classes, but did not feel comfortable speaking in all of them. I had multiple responsibilities as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and began to break down. A month later, I finally admitted to myself that this was not working and that I was not okay. On late February afternoon, I returned to ACIC and broke down to my former supervisor, Michelle. I admitted that I could not do this anymore and I was terrified, but working at ACIC during my senior year gave me a sense of purpose and happier than ever before. Michelle brought up student affairs, which I brushed off as I continued to think that student affairs was just residence life and being the introvert I am with WOO as my weakest strengths, I did not think it was for me. However, I gave it some thought, retook the FOCUS 2 assessment (that I had administered to countless student the year before). I took a leap of faith and applied to K-State’s College Student Development program. I was accepted, and graciously accepted the opportunity to return to ACIC as the Graduate Assistant.

January 2015: First year of my new graduate program is a complete 180, I love my classes, I speak up and have friends and I LOVE my job (spending more than the required 20 hours a week). January is also stressful as Michelle has left to follow one of her dreams, mission work in Tanzania. I am the interim coordinator for a few months as office goes through the process of hiring a new boss. This semester teaches me the most of my strengths, weaknesses and the idea of change.

January 2016: Last semester of graduate school and I am not ready for it to end. I am spending everyday looking at job postings, applying to anything and everything that matches my list, and even get an on-campus interview for my dream job. However, I am also going through many good-byes – to my school for the past seven years, my identity as a student, my coworkers and my grandmother.

January 2017: Today I have just passed 8 months in my first professional role as an Academic Advisor for the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I trusted the process of the job search and landed on my feet in a position, office and location that was meant for me. I could not be happier with my position and the opportunities I have already been given and that my supervisor and I are planning for the future.

Where I am today is directly linked to where I was back in January of 2012, I just never would have predicted it. There were a lot of bumps and tears along the way, but I truly am where I am meant to be. There was a lot change, but necessary change over the past five years. I can only imagine where the next five years will take me, and I cannot wait to see!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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