Looking Ahead in 2014

Life after comprehensive exams – I have been looking forward to this time for the last month, maybe even the last year and a half…

IMG_5349 - Version 2Studying 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.

CSAA 2014 excited picture

T-shirts designed by Evan. (We took these pictures after comps but unfortunately not everyone in the cohort is in them.)

"The more you know, the less you know" 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!

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Comprehensive Exams

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.

Picture of comps study notebook

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!

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A digital story

With the fall 2013 semester finishing up, I have not had a chance to blog recently. But I have been working on major class projects and want to share one on my blog. This is a digital story layered in a theory for my CSAA multicultural practices class. In the spirit of being vulnerable and sharing more about myself on this blog, I hope this post gives you some insight into my experience and my development.

Digital story projects are an effective way to help students tell their story. Prompts can be tailored to the group so that people are able to tell their story. My graduate school cohort is very close, providing an opportunity for everyone to dig deep and share more personal information with their project. The assignment was challenging, because the video had to be short. It also reminded me how much I enjoy making and editing videos. If you are interested, learn more about digital stories from the Center for Digital Storytelling.

Pinterest & Student Affairs

Last week I blogged about my technology project for Campus Ecology (#ECHD7430) and over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of my classmates’ projects! Each person chose a specific technology or social media tool and explored uses for student affairs professional and student organizations.

The first project I am going to feature is student organizations using Pinterest by Veronica Roman. Veronica chose Pinterest because it is the third largest social platform, behind Facebook and Twitter. Since she first started using Pinterest, she observed a common-held belief that the site was only used for planning weddings, sharing crafts projects, or other more social purposes. She saw potential for it to be used as a way to share knowledge and information.

Veronica created a Pinterest account for our student personnel association organization at the University of Georgia, UGASPA. For three weeks she explored the use of this social sharing site for student-led organizations and student affairs professionals. Veronica recommends that student affairs professionals use Pinterest to display information in an interactive and creative way.

This summer, I noticed a lot of residence life accounts on Pinterest.  Eric Stoller wrote about Pondering the Interest in Pinterest last March. His post includes examples of Pinterest use in student affairs.  What are some examples of offices or organizations using Pinterest well?  I have a student affairs board on my account (which needs to be reorganized), and have found it a helpful place to store ideas! What are ways that Pinterest has helped you be successful?

Connect with Veronica on Pinterest and Twitter

Learn more with Veronica’s info-graphic:

Pinterest and Higher Education Infographic