Where should I start? In the past week, I have interviewed both at UT (Hook’em) and WIU (Go Leathernecks)! They both were amazing experiences and opportunities that I’m so glad I have! They are both amazing programs, but the decision is going to come down to assistantship and feeling!
So my UT interview/preview days was on February 28th. It was a one day thing. I got up early that morning, dressed in my “snappy” casual attire and headed off to the Sanchez Building. They gave us breakfast and then our orientation started. Everyone invited was already accepted to the program so everyone there was a potential member of the cohort. A majority of the people accepted were those who’ve already graduated and very few of us were still pursuing our degrees. After we met the faculty we found out who our grad advisors would be. My advisor is the coordinator of the master’s program. He is a major reason I even applied to the program. That afternoon I had my interview. When I got my interview schedule, I originally had two interviews for offices I’d love to work with. However one of the offices decided to keep their current grad so I had to interview for only one. It was kinda discouraging. I gave it my all and w shall see what happens. The thing about UT though is that you don’t have to have an assistantship to be in the program and that they are constantly sending out assistantship positions for you to apply for not just the ones present on that day. After seeing how it was structured, I was almost convinced to stay and commit right then and there but that would’ve been too hasty. I still had to visit WIU next week. In all UT program has its perks, but I needed to see what WIU had.
WIU CSP Days were March 4th-6th. These days were jam packed and so much fun! Over these 3 days I did so much, met a bunch of people and learned a lot about myself. Day 1 of CSP days started with me flying to Macomb, Illinois aka Small town Illinois. The first thing I noticed was the snow. It was absolutely beautiful. When I arrived to the residence hall where we were staying I was greeted warmly and wholeheartedly. I even got lunch for free. This day started with us taking a campus tour, then having a welcome, meeting our buddy, then we had an academic discussion with the two full time faculty and a trio of current CSP students. This was great. That night, I rep’d my Longhorn Pride during the WISPA social and hung out with some of the other candidates and current grads. Day 2 was jam packed for me. I had 6 different interviews. It was long, but I learned a lot. The best interview I had was my academic interview. During my conversation with one of the faculty members and grads, I let myself be vulnerable and opened up. I was almost to the point of tears. The faculty member brought up something I had wrote in my initial essay and wanted me to unpack it. That took me back to that place. It was great. That evening we had a professional social where we got to meet more of the professionals on campus and socialize a bit. Then we had dinner and a mock class. The mock class gave me life. The first words out of the first professors mouth was “Identity Development.” I almost lost it. Identity development has become a passion of mine and definitely something I want to research. The conversation had me fangirling! Then the other professor began took over and once again I was given life. This time the topic was Transformative Learning. The style of this professor is to get students to learn by grounding theory into their own experiences. I was elated. After the mock class I went up to both professors because I just had to talk with them. I found out the first professor also research the masculinities and I couldn’t hide my excitement. I shared what I’m doing and was told that the professor would love for me to come and work in their center for men’s identity development. You can imagine how I was feeling. I then spoke with the other professor, who was the same one who interviewed me, and had to thank them for the conversation we had. It was riveting. After the mock class, those of us interviewing for Housing positions got to tour the apartments and offices of each complex. They are gorgeous. They don’t look like apartments; they look more like houses. It was really nice. That night I wrote my thank you cards and prepared for the last day. Day 3, I had my last two interviews. During my first one, I realized that I might want to do admissions and recruitment as a career. It just hit me how much I was interested in those components. I found out I won the spirit competition as well. I found the most purple and gold dog bones and won some WIU swag. Before I knew it, it was time to depart and head back home to Austin. I was sad to leave everyone. In that short amount of time, I felt like we all were that cohort. It was nice. It’s sad to think that not all of us are going to get in. I’m truly hoping we all stay connected.
Where I am now
Those two sets of interviews made me think about what I truly want. I learned so much about myself. Honestly, if I hadn’t interviewed for admissions related positions at WIU, I don’t know if I would have figured out that I want to do that as a career. I’m a total feeler and WIU felt so right! However, UT still feels right and always has felt right. We shall see what happens. WIU started their selection for the cohort and assistantships today. I can hear back as early as Monday from them. I’m hoping for good news. Idk when I’ll hear back from UT but we shall see what will happen. I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be. As they say in the phrase I despise “Trust the process!”