Nerves, Uncertainty, and Moving Across the Country: Oh My!

by Andrea Dreyer

Moving to a new place is an experience that can be wrapped up in a lot of emotions. There may be nervous feelings of not knowing what exactly to expect in your new location. There may be exciting feelings ready for a new adventure and a changing routine. Or there could even be feelings of relief for being able to start over in a new place and have a clean slate. The experience of moving to a new place and the feelings mentioned (as well as a plethora of others) are no stranger to those of us with a career in Student Affairs.

I can clearly remember leaving my home in Michigan to drive to Kansas for the start of my graduate school experience at Kansas State University almost a year ago. I was experiencing all of the aforementioned feelings and more. There were so many new opportunities available to me and this was the first time I was truly going to be on my own far away from family and friends. I was very apprehensive and constantly wondering if I had made the best decision for me and my next two years.

I found myself experiencing these same feelings once again this summer as I left Manhattan, Kansas and headed for Farmville, Virginia where I would be completing my ACUHO-I internship at Longwood University. I was leaving my friends, coworkers, and a position that I loved for a summer at a smaller institution and town. I again felt the wave of uncertainty of wondering if I had made the best decision for me as I packed my bags and headed to the East coast.

On my 20 hour drive I was able to spend some time reflecting on these feelings of uncertainty and worry and realize that this change is not only inevitable, but also necessary. Moving around to different parts of the country and stepping out of my comfort zone is something that has not only benefited me professionally, but also personally. That’s not to say that those apprehensive or nervous feelings aren’t valid, but I think that by reframing those feelings into hopes for new opportunities I have been able to be very content with the process. I think that this was a great realization to have as I am coming into my final year of graduate school and preparing myself for my first full-time job search this coming academic year. Undoubtedly I will be moving to a new place again, starting a new position, and gaining a new blank slate. I am confident that these upcoming experiences will come with many feelings again, but I am also aware that all of my previous moves have led me to fall deeper in love with my career in student affairs, meet some incredible people, and continue to challenge myself as an individual.

No matter what point you are at in your student affairs journey whether that be starting a summer internship, starting grad school, starting your first full-time position, or continuing to gain experience in the field I challenge you to embrace to feelings of uncertainty and nervousness and gain the most out of your experience as possible. As many of my mentors have said to me in the past, “trust the process”. Things always have a way of working themselves out and if a new experience isn’t what you had hoped for there is always another adventure to search for. Embrace all of the feelings that you have, push yourself to move beyond your comfort zone, and as always trust the process.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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1 comment :

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