One of my favorite bands has a song that has pretty much summed up the past year of my life. The song is called “Where’d All the Time Go” by Dr. Dog. The opening lines go a little something like this:
“Where’d all the time go? It’s starting to fly.
See how the hands go; Waving goodbye.”
It is funny how much a few lines from a song can sum up just about a year of life. This is how I feel in regards to completing my first year of graduate school. Time has never moved so quickly, however, I look forward to each passing minute with an unbridled enthusiasm for what the next moment may hold. This brings me to an overall analysis of my first year of graduate school. While, I still have a few weeks before the end of the semester, I have no doubt that I will be a little pre-occupied with trying to finish my work and get my affairs in order before the end of the school year.
I began this year uncertain as to how I would fit in as a graduate student. Actually, to be quite honest, I had no idea what to expect from my graduate program, and I was terrified. How quickly things change! I quickly came to realize how different graduate classes were from my undergraduate classes. With an emphasis on reading and class discussion, I soon realized that the component of these classes suited my learning style very well. After a month or so of classes, I began to enjoy going to class. Not only was I learning new and exciting information about my content area, but I was creating relationships with those individuals around me.
I will be the first to say that I am beyond fortunate to have met everyone that I have in my first year in grad school. I have formed relationships with individuals from all different backgrounds, and for that I am thankful. To know that you have the unquestionable support of your peers is an unimaginably powerful tool in helping you accomplish all of your tasks as a graduate student. Aside from having support in attempting to accomplish your academic goals, these relationships offer a new outlet to try new things. I would have never thought that I would have tried swimming before this semester, but I took the plunge and actually enjoyed it! I have tried my best to stay in contact with my new found friends in an effort to foster our already blossoming relationships. Going to grab a bite to eat after class became more than just a casual experience, but a necessity to unwind from the fast paced life of a graduate student.
While enjoying the course work and forming relationships with your fellow students is a large part of adapting to graduate school, so is adjusting to the demands and styles of your professors. This is a difficult task for any individual. Luckily, the faculty members that I have had the privilege of working with so far have done everything in their power to help me succeed. Words cannot express how grateful I am towards them and all the hard work that they have done in training me to be the best possible counselor I can be. More importantly they have showed me how to become a better and more responsible human being. Having my professors and advisors take time out of their busy schedule to provide assistance to students, has shown me what it means to be a true professional. It is easy to see how these interactions will be beneficial to me in the future. The faculty members in this program care not only for how you are doing as a student, but how you are doing as a person.
Throughout this academic year I have been trying to figure out what the most important thing I have learned from graduate school. Has it been the theory on the person-centered approach to counseling? Has it been the ethical standards of being a professional school counselor? Or, is it something else? While both of these questions have aided in my learning this year, I would say the most important thing that I have gained from this year is….perspective. The fact stands that when entering a graduate program you are entering a completely different world. In this world you will be greeted by new challenges, new friends, and new opportunities to prove to not only yourself but, those around you that you deserve to be in the position that you are in. You may hear from individuals the negative aspects of graduate school, however in my time I have gained nothing but positive experiences and helpful life lessons.
I will be the first person to say that I love it here at Kutztown. I love the sights and sounds of campus on a beautiful day. I love my program and knowing that I am receiving a top notch education from faculty members who care about the work they are doing and their students. I love the friends that I have made both in and out of the classroom environment, because they are the support that keeps me going through the thick and thin. Graduate school has given me the perspective that life is a long and hard road, but this road can be more enjoyable with some hard work and a little help from your friends. After all, wasn’t there a band that got by with a little help from their friends?
I love graduate school, I love my program, I love my friends, I love Kutztown, and I would love to talk to you about why you should love these things too. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time to discuss graduate school, programs, Kutztown, or to just talk. I would love to show you why my time here at Kutztown has meant so much to me. As always, I wish all of you the best of luck.