Transitions

first-career-transition

Your 20s are a decade of transition after transition. With a new year of graduate school in full swing, this is the time of year when milestones touch all of our lives. Transitions are exciting moments in which we know our life will never be the same. This time can also be challenging and stressful. Whether you are starting graduate school right after finishing your bachelor’s degree, or from returning to school after taking a break, I want to share some tips for staying cool through the transition.

  • Be present, meaning sometimes in the heat of the excitement of transitions, it is easy for it to all become blurry. Take it all in and be still. It’s so easy to jump ahead. Remember to take one thing at a time.
  • Take stock: evaluate your life and what is going on. Ask yourself several questions; are you pursuing your goals? Are you on the path to a career you want? Now is the perfect time to make those necessary bold choices you have been setting aside.
  • Talk with supportive friends. The increased stress can be a bit overwhelming. This is the perfect time to let it out and talk through your frustrations with family and friends. Remember to take a walk around the block, call your mom and let your inner circle be there for you! For me I know I have a semester left but I keep beating myself up because I don’t have my life all figured out. Letting some of my emotions out has helped me keep things in perspective and be present in the moment. One day at a time.
  • Prioritize. Yes, I said it and I will say it over and over again. Plan your time based on what is most important to you. Make time for those people and activities that matter.
  • Lastly, don’t make decisions out of fear. When going through a time of change it is easy to freeze up and make decisions that we really didn’t want to make. Move through transitions with courage.

Keep in mind that while stressful, transitions are a really good thing.  They mean that you’re moving in a direction of progress and transformation in your life.  Keep up the great work!

Semester Recap

 

indexAll good things must come to an end. Today I say farewell and best wishes to those who graduated (YAY!) and “you did it!” to those who are planning to return in the Fall.

Here is a quick look back at what the Graduate Admissions Office has accomplished this semester:

We plowed our way through several snow storms and consumed many yummy warm beverages.th

We enjoyed a long, relaxing Spring Break!

We held a memorable event graduate social event called Connecting Educators, where we explored the roles of other professionals from various programs such as education, school psychology and counseling. An hour was just not enough. The discussion could have gone on for days. This is hopefully a beginning to a new annual event.11010983_663847770410957_7180359415517867244_n

The Director of Graduate Admissions, Betsy, and I attended the 2015 28th Annual NAGAP Conference in New Orleans – where we got to celebrated Betsy’s Birthday!

We volunteer for the 2015 Plattsburgh Half Marathon raising awareness and money for Parkinsons research and Team Fox! Great Job to our Grad Students who ran the marathon!11120071_10153340493817578_7740122878760693042_n

AND we had FREE coffee week for finals! index

None of this semesters events could have happened without the help of our Graduate Students.

However it is that you decide to spend your summer, whether it’s hiking, swimming, fishing, reading, or sleeping, be sure to look back at everything you have accomplished this semester. Fifteen weeks in a semester full of new material, experiences and interactions can be overwhelming. Look at where you started and where you are now…

Adios!

Spring Finals

Yup, it’s that time again – the dreaded finals week.

If you are not already organized, you better get it together!  This week is crucial.  For myself, I find it helpful to organize my books, binders, papers and planner (I never go anywhere without my planner). Once those are neatly grouped together, I can start my “to do” list.cf1755606b8b5cd056800773b6bc15ccDid I mention, I may have a slight O.C.D. problem, that’s another post. :P

The end of the semester there are always a few 10-12 page papers to write, no big deal. Unless you are like me and have 6. That thing I mentioned earlier – organization, yeah that comes in handy right about now

It’s that time of the year when summer is right around the corner and it’s getting warmer outside and all you want to do is lay on the beach!

But, this is not the time to slow down or daydream.  Starting off the semester strong is easy – it’s maintaining that concentration through the last weeks of the semester we struggle with.girls-bored-class-031207-240x312There are plenty of events to help motivate and eliminate stress during finals week on campus. Recently the Student Involvement center hosted an event that involved dogs – cute, fluffy, friendly dogs. (Sunshine the Golden Retriever, and Glory the Newfoundland) for students the take a break from studying. It was a donation-encouraged event where all the proceeds were donated to the Elmore SPCA, a no kill animal shelter in the Plattsburgh community.Petting-dog-bannerThe Student Learning Center here on campus located in the ACC is open for their Open Study during finals week. Although, Open Study hours change with each semester, if their doors are open, you are welcome to go in, settle yourself at a table, and work at your own pace through your course material. It’s great because small study groups are also welcome to use our area and the tables and chairs in the center. When you have butterflies right before a presentation, this is a great place to

IT IS FINALLY HERE: The Graduate Admissions Office is giving away free coffee to current grad students during finals week!!index

We hope you see you! Good Luck!

 

NAGAP 2015

NAGAP AM 15_290x100I had the pleasure of attending the 28th Annual NAGAP Conference in New Orleans last week, which was my first time at a professional conference.  NAGAP, which stands for the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals, includes staff members and some faculty from colleges all over the US who work in fields directly or closely related to graduate admissions.

The conference provided a great opportunity to network with professional colleague’s at all different sizes and types of institutions.  There was information presented that was new and exciting to me, as well as information I already knew or had experienced through my time working in the Graduate Admissions Office here at SUNY Plattsburgh. It was nice to have the flexibility to choose the educational sessions that sounded most pleasing to me for where I am in my professional development. There was a wide range of different sessions occurring at one time so you could move around to one session or another easily.

A few of the sessions I attended were:

  • Getting Off on the Right Foot: Expanding Orientation to Enhance Student Learning
  • PlattForm Provides Solutions to Enrollment
  • Retention & Career Preparation Challenges
  • Cultural Sensitivity in Graduate Programs: A New Approach to Student Support – Adapting to a Global Culture
  • “Seven Golden Rules” for Being the Most Productive Person on Your Campus

The dynamic speakers gave a well-rounded experience for all who attended the conference. The needs of the attendees were met – whether you were just starting out (like myself) or a veteran to the Graduate Admissions world. These sessions provided me with new and creative approaches across a variety of topics related to Student Affairs and working with students in higher education.

Not only was the conference focused on attending educational sessions but there were also opportunities to mingle and meet new people. There were breaks between sessions that allowed social interaction and a night on the town at Mardi Gras World, where music and other activities took place. We were able to explore, touch and take pictures of the giant floats used in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades.

10610642_10103078891264147_5869371914764028413_nMy boss, working on her professional development :)

I would encourage any graduate students to attend a professional conference if possible. It doesn’t have to be paid for out of your pocket either – professional development money exists on our campus for our graduate students to pursue these activities, which allowed me this opportunity.  Because of this experience, I will be more comfortable when I attend these conferences as a working professional in the future!

Power Push

February and March are cold, dreary months.  The fate of winter is determined by a groundhog that never holds up his end of the bargain. In short, these months are boring and the only thing we look forward to is Spring Break, which has come and gone. However, March is over in 7 days and there are only 8 more weeks left of the semester. You are almost there!

Now that you have realized how close the end of the semester truly is, there is no room for slacking. Professors prime us for the first half of the semester to really get us ready for maximum growth for the second half.

Due to the first half of the semester being focused on obtaining foundational information, it helps outline optimal space for creativity during the second half. You have learned everything there is about play dough, now this is the time to really play with it.629px-Animate-Clay-Step-9-Version-2Let me give you another example: the first half of the semester you solidified your daily routine and figured out how you were going to make sure you got your 8am coffee from Tim Horton’s (they even know your name), maybe even mastered bathroom, food, and social breaks. Whatever it may be, the second half of the semester is there to really push your limits. Maybe you make it to Tim Horton’s an hour early, maybe you skip the social scene and do some pleasure reading, or maybe you decided to take up a kick boxing class Monday night at 10pm!

In the classroom, you can challenge yourself the second half of the semester by talking more or even striving for a better essay grade. Talking to your professor is a great resource when it comes to finding out reasons why you did poorly. Many professors grade based on effort – if they see you putting in the effort they can see you are trying.

This next tip is hard to swallow, like fish oil. Fish oil is good for you, so is this. Limit your social media. Don’t completely cut it out, but limit it to where it’s not interrupting your progress on getting your work done, or even ahead. It’s hard to get things done or study when you are constantly checking Becky’s every minute status update or reading “You’ve Got This: 12 Signs You’re Actually Killing It In Your 20’s.”

Plan, plan, plan! Almost every post I mention something about planning. IT’S SO IMPORTANT! Plan for in an hour, plan for tomorrow, plan for next week, or be like me and plan for the last day of the semester! I have started to formulate the High Peaks I want to hike this summer, a to-do bucket list of crafts for around the house, and landmarks I want to explore. These list are great motivation to complete the semester strong.

Spring BREAK!

What does spring break mean to graduate students?

This?index

Not quite. Spring break is a little bit more like this…

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The idea that spring break is only for undergraduates is false. Graduate Students most certainly can take a little time to relax and catch up on “life.” That is my plan anyway.

But let’s not sugarcoat anything, as a graduate student you do need to plan ahead, so academics are always somewhat on your mind.  I of course have a HUGE research project to work on, but thankfully the deadline isn’t until a week after spring break.

Besides projects and catch-up work, I plan on relaxing, avoiding all things intellectual, and enjoying some long walks with my dogs, recreational reading, and family visits.

Grad students tend to be poor, so going on some luxurious vacation in the tropics is not exactly in store.  If you plan on sticking around the ‘Burgh and enjoying the Adirondack region, check out the Upcoming Adirondack Events page!

The beauty of Plattsburgh is that it has a great downtown area. There are a variety of restaurants to explore and small boutiques to browse.downtown_plattsburgh_by_pikvik-d4ihf2h

I know a break from everything sounds great, but don’t let it stop you from getting ahead.  If you want to take a vacation away from the feeling that there are constant expectations on your shoulders, your week off is a great time to do some extra work and get re-focused and re-organized.

Spring Break as a grad student may not be as stress-free as it was when you were an undergraduate, but hey, a week off is a week off!

Surviving the COLD

223435_10152528001405562_1515845326_n-300x200Winter is still here, and it’s colder than ever. Negative temperatures, nasty colds, thick unbearable snow and everything else that makes us scream for summer. To help you get through these next few weeks here on and around campus, I have created a “How to beat the cold,” list!

Number 1: Make sure you are staying warm. Dress appropriately, which means – COVER UP! I know wearing that big fluffy coat can get annoying and all those winter accessories, but this is how you prevent yourself from getting sick or even frost bite. Walking from Sibley Hall to Hawkins Hall in the cold is not exactly pleasing to our bodies.

randySUNY Plattsburgh does a great job at keeping staff and students informed about weather conditions and if there’s contagious illnesses going around. Here, you can find information regarding weather emergencies and how you can be notified.

This leads me to Number 2: Avoid the nasty cold. Take care of yourself. As we know, there are very few days you are allowed to miss when it comes to your coursework. Take the time for self-care. Get adequate sleep, eat lots of fruits and veggies, and most importantly be sure to wash your hands several times a day!indexNumber 3: Stay active.This is a great way to prevent winter sickness and avoiding couch potato syndrome. When thinking of ideas on how to stay active, outside of the gym, the first thing that came to mind was stairs. This could be because my assistantship is in Kehoe and Kehoe has ten flights of stairs. Have I made it to the top? Ha, no! (not yet!) Stairs are a great way to get a little boost of energy throughout the day.c56198f1907de02e58510daae7ea18dbNumber 4 – Make some plans to look forward to, whether it’s for Spring break in March, or for something great you will do this summer, focusing on fun plans for the future will help you get through these tough times.

Lastly, do your best to stay positive.  I promise that spring is actually coming, and coming soon (30 days! http://days.to/spring/2015)

Without a doubt, this is a tough time of year to be in the north country, but every day of winter makes summer seem so much sweeter.