June Thursday 29 2017

Starting my #SAGrad Journey: Interviews are here

It’s been a long road to get to this point, but grad school interviews are finally here.  Tomorrow I’ll be flying to my first one and then have 3 more in the next few weeks.  Fortunately (and kind of unfortunately) they are all consolidated on the calendar.  It works out in every way except for the amount of classes I’ll be missing in a short time frame (applying to grad school and finishing undergrad at the same time is harder than I expected).

As I prepare for the next part of the journey, I keep reflecting back to just a few weeks ago when I was nervous about getting acceptance letters.  Now I’m proud to say I was accepted and/or offered interviews at three of the four schools I applied to (every process is different).  I’m not going to say which schools I’m applying to publicly, but if you want to know, you can ask me privately.  This process goes so fast and that is especially true when I realize that I could likely know where I’m going next year in a month from now.  That’s insane!

I have been looking at school websites, program information, assistantship descriptions, and researching towns for the past year.  I spent the first semester of this year fine tuning each application, essay, and seeking out letters of recommendation.  And now I’m about to enter the final leg of this marathon and actually visit the schools I have been admiring and dreaming about for months.

I took a detour mid-year this year from the student affairs plan when I applied to be a part of the Teach For America corps for next year.  It started when one of their recruiters found my LinkedIn, complimented my involvement, and convinced me that I could be a teacher.  After a few months of phone interviews, an in-person interview, and multiple discussions, I (to my surprise) was accepted.  It turned my life upside down as I tried to decide what to do.  I was really hoping I wouldn’t get accepted to the corps so the decision would have been easier.

But now, I’m glad I got accepted because it forced me to truly look at what I want to do and why I want to do it.  I was motivated for TFA and student affairs for the same reason: to benefit students and help them achieve in college.  It’s something that can be done in both the collegiate and high school settings, as I’ve written about in the past, but I had to decide which setting was best for me.  While the idea of having a full time job and being out of school was appealing, I realized that wasn’t the right reason to pursue something.  I realize that while grad school is scary, it’s exactly where I need to be going.

I keep thinking back to my blog post earlier this year on my new year’s resolution to challenge myself.  I thought about that when I said “no” to Teach For America and I’m thinking about that now as I prepare to visit potential grad schools, see what I like and don’t like, and interview for assistantships that might be out of my comfort zone or out of the areas I have the most experience in.

In less than four weeks, I’ll be done with all of my grad school visits and interviews.  In less than four weeks, the waiting game starts again (hopefully it isn’t too long).  I’m anxious and excited to see where I end up and to start making decisions about my next steps.

I wrote this to get my thoughts out of my head – because they can’t live there any more.  Again, I’m not going to share where I’m interviewing/visiting publicly but I’m happy to share privately if you want to know more about the process ahead of me.  Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support me in this process.

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About the author

Student Affairs Grad Student at the University of South Florida. Disney World and Universal Studio Passholder. Runner. Liberal. Twitter & Instagram: @geoffreykoester

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