When I decided to apply for graduate programs the last thing on my mind were the feelings I would have upon completion.
Five semesters, hundreds (literally) of days spent in the library, and a handful of emotional breakdowns later, there I was. I stood in front of a filled auditorium with only one person in mind, my dad. My father is a simple man and having never attended college, he does not understand student affairs work. Knowing my dad has absolutely no personal experience with university lingo, imagine him trying to wrap his head around my explanations and descriptions of my classes, assistantships, and overall program.
He did, however, become very adamant to ask me weekly—when and if I would get a real job. A real job, to my dad, means a steady income, job security, and fringe benefits.
He could not fully grasp my daily work so I told him stories about being a first-year graduate assistant with the Living and Learning Communities (LLCs) throughout my first year of the program. I tried to tell him about the planning and facilitating I did and students I worked with each day. Just when he began to understand, I, of course, switched it up.
I moved onto to my second graduate assistant position working specifically and intensely with the Compass Living and Learning Community, which is dedicated to helping undeclared students navigate their transition from high school to college. As the Compass GA, I was blessed to supervise six upperclass student mentors and 20 first-year students, facilitate trainings and activities, and research and assess the impact of LLCs on first year participants.
Then, just when he started to understand what in the world I was talking about, CURVE BALL: “Dad, I’m moving to Pittsburgh for an unpaid internship!”
I spent the spring of 2016 working with the fraternity and sorority life at the University of Pittsburgh while being supervised by a Bloomsburg faculty member for course-related learning.
Not only did this allow me to work at a different institution size and type but immersing myself in the culture of the city of Pittsburgh was an irreplaceable experience. Even though I know the impact of those three and a half months on my life, it seemed that still, all my dad could ask about was if or when I would find a real job.
So, while in Pittsburgh I took up the hobby of applying for real jobs. I call it a hobby because it took up a LOT of time, and when I say jobs I mean EVERY job.
After five months of applications and phone, Skype, and on campus interviews, I found my match at a small public university in South Carolina with a position in student activities and fraternity and sorority life! I was offered the position three days before graduation and thought, what better way to tell my dad I finally got a real job than at graduation!
In the two years spent in the College Student Affairs program at Bloomsburg University, it was not until I was about to walk onto the auditorium stage that the full understanding of what was about to happen really enter my mind. I was not only a first generation college student and the first person in my home community earn a master’s degree, but I was also about to tell my friends and family, my dad included, life changing news!
The feelings of accomplishment and pride overcame me! So I walked out onto the stage with my head held very high, because in that moment I was finally able to show my dad exactly what he had wanted to know throughout my entire graduate school experience. Now dad, I now have a real job!
I am still pretty positive that he does not fully understand what college student affairs is, what I have done in the last two years, or even what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life, but he can rest assured knowing I am employed! I will be starting this adventure mid-June and cannot wait to share with you, and my dad, my experiences of being a new professional and how impactful the CSA program will be during the beginning my first real job.
— Jill Franklin, M.Ed., college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU