So you’ve moved for graduate school (or a job) NOW WHAT?!
If you’re like me, you know what it’s like to try to keep up with the never-ending racing mind. With graduation looming before you, the question is “now what?” A major difference between our generation and those before us, is a college degree just doesn’t cut it anymore. So in that sense, the answer to “now what?” is pretty easy: graduate school; the second perhaps lesser-known function of “graduate school” being the most expensive way to keep reality at bay for a few more years!
I found myself looking at Marriage and Family Therapy programs at a few local campuses in the Maryland, D.C, and Virginia area but seeing as there are perhaps only two accredited programs locally, I set my sights a little farther. I thought: Boston! Seeing as I have a lot of extended family around the area I figured this was my best bet because I would be going somewhere I could find both support with housing if necessary or overall emotional support. You see, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would live on my own anywhere out of state! Having a built-in support system was important to me as I was feeling somewhat unsure of myself.
So there I was with the help of my boyfriend at the time, moving from Maryland to Massachusetts. My car was on a trailer and the few pieces of furniture I had in the back of a truck. After getting settled in my next task was finding a job. Luckily, my financial situation was not terrible. I mean, I could afford all the Ramen I wanted! I found myself working at a local Italian restaurant where it turns out I would meet most of the people that made my three years in Boston so amazing.
“Part of the fun in moving on your own from one place to another is the whole process; it is pushing yourself to grow, and maybe feeling a little unsure at first because how else would you know that you’ve grown?!”
As I got used to going to school in the evenings and having the day available for work, I got myself on a fairly regular schedule: go to the gym as often as possible, get homework done, go to class, go out! If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant you know the importance of the after-hours socializing. You ask, but Christie, how did you ever get your work done?! Easy: I started (please notice the word STARTED and not necessarily FINISHED) projects weeks before they were due, I did my assigned reading at the gym, I used free time in the afternoon to whatever advantage I could. I was intentional in my decision to make the most out of my graduate school experience, and boy did I!
During these first few months there were many times the “now what?” question tried to make me feel somewhat unsure of my decisions: “okay you’ve moved, now what?”; “okay school has started, now what?”; “okay you’ve got a small idea of how financial aid works, now what?” This question can come at you in so many different ways with so many different intents. My new answer to this pesky question is: “now chill!” Part of the fun in moving on your own from one place to another is the whole process; it is pushing yourself to grow, and maybe feeling a little unsure at first because how else would you know that you’ve grown?! I make lists and hold on to my planner as if it was my lifeline. Always prioritize school or work, and when you’ve done that you can reward yourself with plenty of fun without feeling guilty! You won’t have to worry about the “now what?” because you’ve already taken care of it. Now chill!