During my two years as a Graduate Resident I have made door decs (or door decorations for my non-student affairs followers) for my RAs each semester.
Door Decs Theme: Crayons
Door Decs Theme: Bulldogs, Go Dawgs!
Door Decs Theme: Cake Pops!
Door Decs Theme: Georgia
The best thing to do is by scrapbook paper on sale and see what you can do with it. Imagine the possibilities!
Two years ago UGA Housing gave me a chance by offering me a Graduate Assistantship in Brumby Hall. They offered me a position even though I had no experience in housing. I had never even lived on campus. (SHHHH…well I guess I can say that now). Housing departments at other schools I visited for graduate school were not even willing to give me an interview for their available assistantships. Thank you John Trawick for the offer to work in Brumby Hall!
With the guidance of some incredible mentors, I accepted the position at UGA. I am a much better professional because of my assistantship experience in housing. Over the past two years I have been challenged by duty calls, RA supervision, advising a first-year hall council, and other random issues that come up when working in a building of 950 first-year students (all female last year and co-ed this year!). I have also learned about the complexities of a housing department at a large public institution. Plus, it got a lot cooler when I realized the reason my room was so hot was because my vents were closed for a year :)
Not only have I gained tremendous experience, I was blessed with two (sort-of three if you count John) awesome supervisors, Megan Dailey and Rachel Butts. Megan provided me the support, structure, and guidance I needed as a first-year “deer in the headlights” Graduate Resident (her words to describe me that first semester). Rachel started at the beginning of my second year and has consistently served as a role model for student advising, among other things. Both these women are so dedicated to their jobs and truly invested in me as well as all students they work with. Tonight I am reflecting on my assistantship and my growth in this position after being honored as the 2013-2014 Graduate Resident of the Year.
So what is the takeaway here? Student affairs professionals and those that work in higher education need to do a better job recognizing transferable skills. Give undergraduate students, graduate students, and professional staff the opportunity to move within departments. Diversity of experiences makes individuals more knowledgeable professionals. Too often I see people turned down or shying away from applying to a position (even I have done this) because they do not have experience in the specific functional area. Expand your search to fill positions and look for unique individuals that will add to your office. UGA Housing did that for me, and I think it turned out okay, don’t you?
Life after comprehensive exams – I have been looking forward to this time for the last month, maybe even the last year and a half…
Studying for comps consumed my life and mind over the past 30+ days. I spent most of my time over break studying. Then last Friday my cohort took our exams! They were not as bad as I expected. I was not worried about them but I still let anxiety and stress get the best of me that last week and the morning of the exams.
All of the questions were practical questions that I felt prepared to answer (The results are yet to be detemined by the graders who will let me know if I passed or not). And even though last week was stressful I was reminded how incredibly thankful I am to have the support of my family, friends, mentors, and cohortmates. It was definitely an experience that we survived together.
T-shirts designed by Evan. (We took these pictures after comps but unfortunately not everyone in the cohort is in them.)
Evan and I worked together to order the t-shirts for those who wanted to purchase them; they feature a quote from one of our first classes together. The wonderful Dr. Merrily Dunn made an eloquent comment in class about how “the more you know the more you don’t know” but when Victor tried to repeat it later but he said:
“The more you know, the less you know” (Lopez, 2012). This comment generated laughs (as Victor always does) but also became a standard saying within our cohort.
I took a short blogging hiatus while studying for comps but am starting to get back on track. It is nice to settle into a routine for the semester and work on my after comps to-do list. Also…I’m starting to job search (more excitement, more anxious emotions to come with that)!
Thank you to all who supported me during the journey to pass comps 2014 (Baxter-Magolda, 2002; Sanford, 1966)! – Obviously I’m still seeing theory everywhere and thinking in theories!
Do you have any advice for student affairs graduate students going through their last semester or starting the job search? Leave it below!
Comps. Do you know what that is? It’s something that has been on my mind a lot the last 2 weeks, and sort of on my mind for the last year and a half. Not all graduate programs require this kind of exam. If you’ve never heard of them before, Wikipedia provides a brief overview of the comprehensive examination concept, also known as comps.
In less than two weeks (on January 10, 2013) I will be taking a compehensive exam for my master’s program. CSAA-M students at UGA must pass this exam to recieve their master’s degree. If you are thinking about attending graduate school for student affairs, it is definitely worth looking at what type of culminating experience(s), if any, the programs you are considering offer. ACPA’s directory of graduate programs provides a summary of most programs while also stating if a thesis or comprehensive exam is required/optional. Now if you are really intrigued or considering UGA’s CSAA program, more information about our comps process can be found on page 27 of this handbook. Basically, my cohort will be asked to answer two long essay questions and three short essay questions (two longs and three shorts) by integrating and sythensizing our learning. To complete the exam we are able to make and use a two-sided reference sheet in APA style.
The Spring 2014 semester is going to be full of many wonderful adventures. I’ve already started my after comps to-do list. It’s going to consist of job searching, blogging, maybe attending a conference, running, spending time with my cohort, etc. But right now, it’s all about comps.
Did you take a comprehensive exam with your graduate program? Thoughts on the concept? Thanks for reading!