Esther Kim is a first-year CSSA student with an assistantship with the CSSA Program in the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Next fall, she will be transitioning to the Dean of Student Life Central GTA.
The 2013 cohort #cohorties
(missing: Richard Arquette & Scott Brueck)
It’s unbelievable! We’re down to the last week of the school year and just days away, the class of 2014 will be graduating with their master’s degree from Oregon State University. As a first-year student, I admired many 2nd and 3rd year cohort members and looked to them for guidance, advice, and an a ear to talk to when school, work, and life got a bit hectic. Thank you to the class of 2014 and I wish you all the best in you future endeavors! Y’all are the best! #CSSAlove
It’s been a whirlwind of a ride and I’m still in shock that we, the first-year cohort, are half way through the program! There were many times when I doubted myself, wondered what I was doing in grad school, underestimated my work abilities, and struggled to maintain friendships and relationships from home. I’ve been learning that through this journey, going through these emotions and experiences is a lifelong process, and you have to invest time in what matters most to you. This past year has been quite the roller coaster ride but graduate school has taught me very valuable lessons that I will carry with me onto the next year.
1. Always ask yourself “why?”. Throughout this year, I have been challenged on multiple levels from my instructors, supervisor, and advisor on ways to further my education and learning in order to be the best professional and individual. At times, I was struggling to find the reason as to why they would had me do that extra hard assignment or why they had me read extra 40 pages when I thought I knew the material already. Why are they pushing me so hard? The professionals around you know exactly what your potential is and in order to reach your potential, some pushing and challenging has to be done. Reflecting on this year, I begin to recognize that everything is done intentionally and if it wasn’t for the professionals continue to challenge me, I wouldn’t be reflecting, thinking, processing the same way as I would have if they didn’t do so.
2. Make time for yourself. I can’t emphasize this point enough during your first term and year of grad school. The transition period can be rough regardless if you came straight from undergrad or have taken a few years off school. It can be overwhelming at times to balance your time with school, work, and other obligations. Regardless if it’s watching TV for one hour a day, working out, or traveling to Portland on weekends, make sure you make time for yourself and do something that you enjoy that will take your mind off of grad school. You have to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically in order to succeed and accomplish all that you wish to do. #selfcare
3. Make meaningful relationships. Student affairs is all about connecting and networking. During your time in the CSSA program, take time to get to know the individuals in your cohort as they will be a huge support system during your time at Oregon State. Set up meetings with professionals in a functional areas you would like to one day be in. Professionals are always willing to make time, get to know you personally and professionally, and they love a good coffee date. Many of the relationships with colleagues and professionals I have made this year have been impactful during my time at Oregon State, and I know that even after graduation, those relationships will be maintained.
4. Enjoy the ride! You picked Oregon State for a reason. You are in the program because you are competent and people believe you have a lot of potential to grow and learn. Enjoy the journey of grad school and experience as much as you can during your years in the program. Take time to intern at various departments, attend sporting events and cheer on the Beavers, and walk around downtown Corvallis to experience the uniqueness of the city. This journey goes by so fast so stop and smell the roses once in a while. Once again, your cohort members are your support system and will be along on this journey with you. Utilize the people around you that will bring you up and allow you to flourish.
To all the incoming CSSA students, remember to breathe, relax, and enjoy the journey for the next couple of years. We’re all thrilled to meet you, get to know you, and work with you during your time here at Oregon State.