The Reality of Moving 12 Hours Away for Grad School

Student Affairs / Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

In less than two weeks, I’ll arrive in Tampa, Florida to start my next adventure as a student affairs grad student at the University of South Florida. I am incredibly excited to move and get started, but as the move date gets closer, I also get slightly more terrified.  The reality of the situation is that there is so much involved in moving, making sure everything is settled back in Indiana, and transitioning to a new state and new home for the next two years.

When I started searching for grad programs, I decided I wanted to get out of Indiana and preferably out of the midwest.  I did not apply to any schools in Indiana.  The closest I applied to was in Illinois and would have been 6 hours from home.  The others ranged from 8 to 12 – I ended up picking the 12.  The distance really didn’t play that much of a role in my decision though (not nearly as much as it did for undergrad) – I simply found my “fit” in a program and assistantship at USF.

Four years ago, I moved two hours away to go to Indiana State for undergrad. At the time, that move itself was daunting but still comforting knowing I was only 100 miles away from everything I knew. Now I’ll be 850 miles away and the reality of that is sinking in.

The thing I keep going back to is that I did find my fit at USF and I’m confident I will be happy there once everything is settled and I’m there for a few weeks.  I try not to think about the “unknown” parts and focus on the “known” parts – I have a great assistantship, I like the program, and I’ll be living in sunny, beautiful Florida with so many possibilities.

As I work through the unknowns, the knowns keep me going. As I start to work through the financial pieces of such a big move, including living off campus for the first time and paying for that, I also think about all the awesome things I will be able to do at USF and the reasons why I’m doing this.  I have to continue to reflect on my “why” for going into the student affairs field.

Going back to one of my interview answers during the search process, my “why” is because I want to work with students like myself.  What I mean is I want to work with those students who come to college with absolutely no clue what they are doing or getting themselves into, but end up having the best time of their lives because of the people that get them plugged in and push them to reach their potential.

While that describes me as an incoming freshman, there are certainly some similarities to me now as an incoming first year graduate student. I don’t know what I’m getting myself into for sure, but I do know I will have supportive people to help me through the process and that I will have the best time of my life (again).  If I can keep my “why” in mind, I can overcome the transitioning challenges.

This post has been more for me than anything else, because reflection is good and that is exactly what i need to be doing right now given all the change that is ahead of (and already behind) me.  Feel free to comment or share if something here resonates with you.

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