A Connection: Second Grad School Interview/Campus Visit

Last week, I attended interview days for a program I had been looking at since August. It was an amazing experience that I am so grateful to have had. This trip required me to travel to small town Ohio.

I boarded my plane on Wednesday afternoon and head to Dayton, Ohio. I arrived a couple of hours early for my shuttle to campus so I thought I’d just hang out for a while. In the midst of exiting the plane I received a Facebook message from another candidate asking me about the weekend because she thought I had attended the previous week’s interviews. After some discussion, we met up and decided to enjoy the wait together. In the process of waiting we actually met up with 3 other candidates for the program and chatted until our shuttle arrived. After waiting for the last candidate to arrive, we chatted with one of our drivers and headed off to a social gathering where we would meet a bunch of other candidates who arrived the night early. There I found out that 3 other people I’d met an a previous interview were also there in attendance.

After a few games and chats, I headed back to my host’s apartment. There we chatted for hours about all types of things. He is a really amazing guy. The next morning we got up and headed to breakfast. We all ate at a campus dining hall that had really good food. We chatted and took a group photo before heading out to the hotel where we would be staying. When we checked in, I discovered that I had a room to myself. Wasn’t expecting it, but it was really nice. I showered and changed and got ready to start the day.

It started with an off campus tour for me. We road around and got to see the town, the apartment complexes, the grocery store, and the outskirts of campus. This was followed by the welcome luncheon where we sat with assistantship supervisors and faculty members. Each faculty member was introduced by a current student in the program. From the introductions, you could tell how much the students loved their faculty.

Next on the agenda for me where interviews with the Office of Residential Life. It was two interviews each with their own focus. One interview focused on working with first year students and the other interview focused on working with second year students. They were each unique and interesting. The first year focus was conducted by two professional staff members and a graduate assistant. I enjoyed it and feel like I could contribute to and learn a lot from the position. The second year focus was conducted by the associate director of the office, a grad assistant and a resident assistant. That one was the most interesting to me because I believe second year students are often a forgotten group on college campuses.

My interviews were followed by a mock class. Before the interview days, we were given an assigned reading to complete to help with the discussion. The discussion was phenomenal and gave us the opportunity to see what it would be like to attend classes at the particular university.  My group got into an interesting discussion on whether or not people who don’t identify with a certain identity can be the director of a center focused on that identity. It was great conversation if anything else.

After mock class, we had a faculty panel where we met the full faculty for the program. This program has 5 full-time faculty members and it is the most diverse one I’ve seen anywhere. Next we had the opportunity to change clothes before dinner. I ate dinner with 5 other candidates and two current grads. It was great and had great conversation. Following dinner we had a student panel. I had to say that the students and faculty were complete transparent about not only the great things about the program but also the areas of improvement. Day one ended with me watching the How To Get Away With Murder finale. I have to say it was a great first day.

Day two began which Inclusion Dialogues. At first no one had any idea what this was. Inclusion is one of the core values of this program so in small groups we discussed what inclusion meant, what our salient identities are and how they are perceived by others. This was definitely a powerful part of the interview days and I can’t say how much I appreciated it. The next thing I on my schedule was an interview with the Dean of Students office. I even got to meet the Dean of Students. It was really good. We ended up talking about music and really connecting. After my DoS interview I had some free time before the closing luncheon.

At the closing lunch, I sat with one of the faculty members and had great conversation about tattoos, random childhood hobbies, and so much more. We learned about the next steps with the process for this program and they gave us a specific date for when we will receive phone calls. That is so nerve-wracking but thankfully I don’t have to work on that day. Following lunch, I had my faculty interview. If anything, this is the thing that made my entire trip. My faculty interview was with one of the African-American faculty members who work at an institution in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The conversation was amazing. We connected in a way that I hadn’t had with another person in the field before. We shared a life changing experience. The faculty interview was the last thing I had to accomplish before heading to the airport.

I truly enjoyed my visit. Now I’m waiting to hear back from programs. I know one school already started sending out offers. I don’t know if one is coming for me but we’ll see what happens. I truly know that I will have an incredibly difficult decision ahead of me should I get offers from my programs of choice. I fell in love with both of them. Nothing is certain until it happens. I’ve had success thus far but who knows what the next couple of weeks will hold. I’m confident that something will work out. Let’s see what will happen. Hopefully my next blog post will be an announcement of where I’ll be pursuing my master’s. Only time will tell. Good things come to those who wait.

Student Panel! Photo cred: Antonio Duran
Student Panel!
Photo cred: Antonio Duran

2 thoughts on “A Connection: Second Grad School Interview/Campus Visit

  1. I am glad you enjoyed interview days. No matter what happens- I know you and I will be colleagues for years to come! The process may be hard at times, but I wish you the best of luck, regardless where you go!!!

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