Before I went to grad school for student affairs, I didn’t know it was a thing. I literally had never heard of any of my friends going to grad school, let alone grad school for student affairs. I got my start in Undergrad U’s admissions office. Some of the counselors had gone to school for student affairs, others did not.
Fast forward a few years – I was applying to grad school and I found out a few girls I went to college with were as well. We were all involved in different things during college, but the common theme was we were INVOLVED. Between the five of us, I think we might have covered working/being a part of every functional area in Student Affairs – student activities, Greek life, residence life, conduct, career services, admissions, orientation…you name it, we did it!
Now that I’ve been working in student affairs for a few years, I’ve had some friends and students come to me saying, “I want to do what you do!” My first instinct is to tell them to run far, far away. But then I sit and tell them about the grad school process and the job search process and why I chose the program I did, blah blah blah. At first I was surprised that people kept asking me how to become a real life student affairs professional, but then I realized that if I had had the chance, I too would have bombarded somebody with questions. By the time I realized that I was going to go to grad school, it was too late – I had already graduated and I’m sure my manager at the mall knew nothing of GREs and grad school apps.
Two of the students who came to me (and are now in grad school – hope you’re reading this and laughing!) followed the traditional super involved student and BOOM straight into an awesome grad program immediately after graduation.
Two of my friends who came to me are on what I like to think of as a more slightly successful version of the track that I was on – they graduated, got jobs, and are now thinking of going back to school. While my jobs were a little less “traditional”, they are both currently working in college offices. That means they also have plenty of other resources when inquiring about how to apply to grad school or what to do with their lives.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’m IN student affairs that it suddenly seems like everyone and their mother wants to enter the field or if it actually is truly growing. Thoughts, oh lovely readers?