Thursday, April 9, 2009


So my long winter of grad school applications, interviews and anxiety is finally over. Its officially spring, and I know that I'm going to Oregon State University next fall for their College Student Services Administration program. I've been offered an assistantship in "teaching biology TA's how to teach." And I'm pretty excited about it. Or course, I lived the first 8 years of my life in Corvallis and I really do consider myself a native Oregonian rather than a Washintonian. So I'm happy to be moving back to the northwest. The Willamette Valley is beautiful and I'm even excited about the rain.

This hasn't been an easy decision at all. I would have really loved to go to Seattle University next year. But I think in this case, everything ended up working out for the best. Most of all I've learned a lot in my grad school application process.
Here are some of the things I've learned:

1. I am a much better traveler now. Before I moved to DC I could count the number of times I'd been on an airplane practically on one hand. I don't sleep well on public transportation and I had a good degree of anxiety about flying. I think this is partially because almost every time I'd been on a plane it was by myself, and associated with a MAJOR life change of some kind. I've discovered the secret to becoming a better flier: the drowsy kind of dramomine and frequency of travel. I'm practically an old pro now.

2. Interviewing well is, like anything else, a skill that can be learned. I had interviewed only a few times before this spring. In fact during my interview to the CSSA program at Oregon State University, I was so nervous and preformed so poorly because of nerves that I was convinced I would not be accepted to the program. I've since decided that being comfortable with an interview is a combination of being prepared, and just being familiar with the structure of interviews. It shouldn't be too surprising that the assistantship I was offered was the very last of my interviews. I learned a lot about marketing myself in the process.

3. There really is a fundamental difference between the east and west coast. While this seems to be both a no brainier and not important, I've felt this a lot this year. While people are people everywhere, attitudes and standards and values are very different in the pacific northwest and in our nations capital.

4. My life view is an odd mix of living in the moment and loving the past. When I visited OSU I said, "This is it, this is where I'm going." When I visited Seattle U I said, "This is it, this is where I'm going." So I've come to think that I am very much present where I am and influenced by that. Yet this year I can't help but feel nostalgic for where I was one year ago(finishing my thesis) or two years ago (in LONDON).

5. There more I explored student affairs as a path, the more sure I am that I made the right decision.

I will end here and spare you from having to read a top 25 things I've learned. But know that I am feeling good about this and happy about my decision.

To end this post I have to say that when I moved away form Corvallis at the tender age of 8, I was very sad about it. I thought for a long time that I would move back to Corvallis and do my undergrad at OSU. Well, when college application time rolled around senior year of high school, that dream was forgotten and I didn't even apply. And now here I am.


The MoM said...

Wow! It's hard to keep up with you. So may posts, so close together... but the timing is good. (Carolyn is in Istanbul without a computer.) Fun to read your thoughts about Corvallis and OSU. I am bursting at the seams with pride for you.

Kate Z Stone said...

LOVE YOU! You'll be seeing me. Corvalis isn't too far away after all, and I'll be in Portland a lot, which is plenty close. You are going to have a great time Char, just wait! This is going to be another big life change, but I really do believe that it is going to be a positive one.