Want to hear something WILD? You and I are going through the same SUPER stressful process right now of trying to figure out what school is going to be the best for us next year! While all of you are making that huge transition from high school to college, and I am working on making the big transition from undergrad to grad school!
You are going to hear a bunch of tips about picking the right college for you from a lot of people, so I will save that for another day, but today I wanted to share how my Bradley experience made me realize that I even wanted to go to grad school in the first place.
To explain a bit about what I want to do with the rest of my life, I am super excited to go get my Masters in Higher Education Student Affairs. What that means is that I can work on the administration side of a college for the rest of my life. It’s all the people who work at a college that aren’t the professors. Now the next thing you might ask is how on earth did I realize I wanted to do that?
Coming to Bradley University, I had no true idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was just a nervous freshman, excited for the opportunities that lied ahead in my college experience. Right off the bat, I got involved in Fellows, a service and leadership program that made me my first friends in college. From there, I was so excited to get involved in more organizations, meet more people, and make the most of my college experience.
I quickly signed up for many organizations, including ACBU, Bradley’s largest programming board, an organization that I would one day become president of. Soon I realized that I could take my love for helping others, people, and event planning and put all that into the work I did every day. I still to this day, remember the day about two years ago, when I planned my final event for ACBU as the Comedy Coordinator. I booked Sam Comroe, who had placed fourth on America’s Got Talent earlier that year, and worked extremely hard to plan a great comedy show experience for Bradley’s campus. The payoff for my hard work was incredible. Over 300 students came to watch the event, some of which said that one hour was able to turn their week around. At that moment, it was a great accomplishment to provide that experience to campus.
Near the end of my freshman year, I applied to become a tour guide, freshman orientation leader, and Resident Advisor, with the hopes to get one of those jobs and help people find the same love for Bradley that I had. With God’s grace, and a bit of interview prep, I surprised myself by successfully being offered all three of those jobs my sophomore year, and that is where I realized helping college students was something that I could do for the rest of my life. Every tour I gave, every orientation session I led, and every floor program I put on, I was always so excited to meet new people, and be a supporting figure to them, wherever they were in their college journey.
While my out of the classroom experiences were going great, things in the classroom were not as enjoyable. I switched majors three times my first few years of college, never fully feeling like I found a place to call my own. However, through conversations that I had with my orientation intern, at the NACA national conference, and with student affairs professionals at Bradley, I realized I already had my place. I just didn’t know it existed. I distinctly remember my first NACA experience, where I realized that ACBU didn’t just exist on Bradley’s campus, but almost every college also had a programming board. I loved talking to students from all over on what events they brought to campus, or just hearing how all universities operate a little differently.
When I learned that I could go into Higher Education, and continue supporting and helping college students in so many different ways, I knew immediately that that was what I was meant to do.
Where does that leave me now? Like I said I am in the same boat as you. Trying to figure out what school is going to be the best for me next year. Stressed about the school search? Me too. Want some great advice? If you want to chat about your school search, I highly recommend reaching out to your Admission Counselor at Bradley. They are so knowledgeable about the college search process and can help you with any questions or concerns you may have!