If I said that this semester was not the hardest one I have ever encountered in my life, I would be lying. Not because the material or grading is any more difficult than I have experienced before, but because of the fact that I am learning things that I will use to address students as a professional, and that is something that both excites and scares me.
Take the three classes I had this semester: Master's Seminar, History of American Higher Education, and Higher Education Policy. Master's Seminar focused on writing and learning about the foundations of Critical Theory as it relates to the issues and problems facing Higher Education today. History of American Higher Education forced us to think critically about the history of higher education through an intersectional lens of DisCrit, the intersection of disability and Critical Race Theory. Finally, Higher Education Policy focused on learning about the very policies and procedures that impact, have impacted, and will impact the future of post-secondary learning (looking at you HEA Reauthorization).
These three classes, all very different from each other, all managed to speak to my practitioner-based mind as well as my scholarly mind. To be honest, I never really felt like that would happen. Here it is mid-December and I am finally giving into the magic that this graduate program has. We have a lot of work to do as college administrators in the next coming decades. We better get some rest and be ready to fight because this new era of post-secondary education is coming and we are looking to take it into the hands of something greater, something better, and something that will truly and inclusively support our students.
If I was a child and had to imagine myself in seventeenth grade, I do not think I would have been able to. To be in a graduate program at a phenomenal university is one thing, but to be able to say as a first-generation college student that I am here is something fantastic.
Everyone around me tells me that I am going to be in school forever because I love it so much. Maybe that is true to some extent, but to be honest it is the learning that I love. Being able to be immersed in new things without judgment is great. Like-minded individuals all together tackling real-world, life-sized problems facing education in today's society is purely remarkable.
Work is exactly what I thought it to be and then some. I am so excited to be able to use my knowledge and skills from my assistantship to help with my classwork and vice versa. I cannot wait for this semester to truly start!