Next steps: Job Search & Life After SAHE

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but I have to think about where I was at the end of my summer internship and where I am now (4 months into my second year and 6 months from graduation). A lot has happened. I have a wonderful SAHE buddy. I’m doing great work in the Office of Diversity Affairs. I love my residents (for the most part). I have some amazing friends. And I’ve gotten to do something I love publicly again: perform.

However, something that has been heavy on my mind is the job search and what I want for life post- grad school. It’s scary to think about leaving school and really having a “big boy” job. I know I did it after undergrad but I worked part-time at Barnes & Noble. While I loved my time there, working full-time in my chosen field is going to be different. It feels like there is more at stake this time. I will have two degrees and something great should happen from that.  I’ll officially be deemed a responsible adult. The fear of not having a job before graduating is real. I want to be so prepared and ready that institutions are competing for me and I’m not scrambling trying to find something.

As of right now, I have limited non-negotiables: 1) I need to be in a city; 2) I need to be around Black people; and 3) I need LGBTQ+ people around. These are my non-negotiables. I was strategic with my grad school search because I wanted to see if I could live in a small town. Grad school was the perfect time for this because it was only 2 years and if I hated it, I had school to distract me. Well, I realized that small towns are not for me. I feel hypervisible. Everywhere I go I see my students. I miss the anonymity of city life. I miss being able to know a bunch of people and still being able to go places where people don’t know you. I miss the hustle and bustle. I miss the plethora of things to do and see. In addition to that, I need Black people. Oxford, OH is real White. I need to have some sort of Black community. I need to be able to go and get a haircut (though I’m growing a fro), find the hotwings, have a fried chicken place in town, and just enjoy Black things like music. I miss going to concerts by Black artists. I also want LGBTQ+ people. As a 24 year old Queer man, I want to date. I want to be able to go out and find community. I want to be able to go out to a club and dance. All in all, I want to be able to simply be a 24 year old.

In thinking bout those things, my job search is more heavily emphasized on residence life. I love diversity work; it is what I want to do with my life, but city living is expensive. I don’t mind the work of residence life. I actually enjoy it. Is it something I want to do long-term. No. But am I willing to do the work? Of course. However, I bring all of that knowledge and skill to my work in residence life. I will do great things no matter what functional area I’m in. I also know I want/need some balance. I want to be able to come home and not have to think about work. I also want to be able to get involved and take up hobbies like community theater, maybe a Queer sports team, or something. I want friends outside of higher ed. I want to start to create my ideal adult life like the ones I see in movies. I want to travel.

There is some much I’m thinking about now that goes beyond just the job search. I’m thinking about the things I want in life. I’m in my mid-twenties now and I should be creating my best life. I should be living life and enjoying the things that I am doing. Where that will be is still to be determined. I have friends who are getting married, having kids, and doing other extremely adult things. Yes, I’m at that age where people start doing that. I want to live and breathe. I don’t know what the next year has in store for me, but wherever the job search takes me I’m going to create the best life I can there.

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