Gratefulness has been on my mind since Thanksgiving break. I realized there is at least one moment (if not several) every day I am thankful for, and how important it is to acknowledge those moments. For one week I decided to reflect and record what I am feeling appreciative of each day.
Monday:: Challenging Situations.
Challenging situations in graduate school may be those moments when we are encounter tasks we may not feel we have all of the necessary expertise to carry them out with absolute confidence– just yet. What’s most important for us to do as current students (which implies that we are in fact still learning) is embrace these moments, even if our natural response may be to shy away for fear of falling short. Saying yes to new experiences can result in some of our most powerful learning moments. Remember, we call ourselves emerging (not seasoned) professionals for a reason.
Tuesday:: Like-Minded Classmates.
We might not have been so similar when we started out in the CSSA program aside from some common goals, but now that we’ve gone through the bulk of it our perspectives have come to overlap. It’s exciting getting to have intellectual conversations with people who really get it about trends and challenges in the field, observations about our surroundings, and our goals over the next few years. Recognizing barriers to cultural inclusion has become second nature and a subject of regular conversation for us. My peers and future colleagues have been some of my most valuable teachers.
Wednesday:: Capital Region Culture.
A big part of coming to grad school was leaving my small rural town and moving to Albany. It took a while to adjust (mostly to city traffic), but I have come to really appreciate the eclectic culture, the convenience of nearby businesses both large and small, and the social/professional opportunities that crop up every week. This past year I have been to concerts, plays, yoga classes, seasonal festivals, and farmers markets, not to mention many great cafes and restraurants. I never lived close enough to these kinds of opportunities growing up.
Thursday:: Graduate Assistantships.
I have only been at my G.A. for two months, but it has already been a beneficial experience for me. Instead of being the person who refers students to other professionals as I have been in the past, I get to put my knowledge and skills into practice by meeting with students one-on-one and in group settings. Nothing beats that direct professional experience. Also, at 10 hours per week, I still have plenty of time and energy to put forth into my three classes and personal life responsibilities.
Friday:: Noticeable Personal Development.
From semester to semester I have felt myself grow not only as a professional but as an individual. I have solidified my values and become confident in upholding them, even in the face of adversity (such as from friends and family with different views). I have developed passion about specific aspects of student support that I intend to work toward in my career. I am more aware of what professional opportunities exist for me after I graduate. I have become stronger in my areas of weakness and more confident in my strengths (for example, I feel I have developed my voice as a writer in a way I felt I previously lacked).
Essentially, these past 2 years of graduate education have helped me become a more well-rounded version of myself. That, to me, is priceless and deserves a bit of appreciation every day. What are you grateful for?