Remember my posting about totally screwing up the interview? Or the one where I didn't have my light saber of skills ready? Or even when I said... "even if they call I'm not taking the on-campus"? Well.. I lied. HA!
Pretty much everyone goes through levels of self-doubt. I was concerned about not being ready for the next step - although I've been doing the level of work of someone who would be a level above me. I just lacked the confidence to believe that in myself. During this last and final campus visit I was ready! I even made a portfolio - WHICH by the way is a smart thing to do if you create a lot of things in your position. My portfolio consists of articles I've written that were accepted into publications, marketing materials I've created, assessment materials I've created, and presentations. It's a smart thing to have - Thanks for the tip, Kyle! I may not have used it.. but it kept my mind on the skills I possessed and gave me reassurance that, in the words of Rev. Jesse Jackson, "I AM SOMEBODY!"
The moment I accepted the negotiated terms of the offer (yeah.. salary negotiation is a scary thing all together too which could be a stand alone topic) I felt nervous and disoriented. Is this the right choice after 5 years? Will I be happy? What about all of the events, conferences, and activities I am currently working on? What about my colleagues? What about the friends I've made? What about the children?
What will happen to the students I've worked with all year? This really concerns me because it's going to be really hard on them to transition so quickly. Six weeks to move through all of this change? Will they receive the same or higher level of dedication to help them successful leaders and programmers? I'm not only leaving behind my student groups but also other student leaders that I've grown closer to - Resident Assistant, Multicultural Assistants, Students in the Activities and Involvement office, Office Assistants. Students who've grown accustomed to me always being here no matter how many times I've threatened to depart our fair city. And we can't forget the folks in the Dining Commons, maintenance and custodial staffs, people on my committees, classified staff, the list just goes on. There's a lot still buzzing about in my brain because it has year to even be 12 hours since I've said, "yes".
These relationships are important to me considering I'm such a relational person and had 5 years to develop those relationships. The connections I make are so vital that I want to make the transition as smooth as possible for both my sake and the sake of those I'm closest to. Just thinking about the group of friends I started this position with and leaving them makes me a little "emotional". It was like our own version of MTV's Real World. It's so intense!
Then I think of the opportunities before me. How exhilarating this will be. The newness. The freshness. The new challenges that will cause me stress out in the first year but become so "easy like Sunday morning". I'll be "the new guy". What's also exciting is that I'll no longer be working in a housing program. I'll actually be working in student activities!
So this is really "Where I wanna be" (to quote lyrics by Donnell Jones). I've been wanting to focus on student activities since I was in my first semester of graduate school. This is just another testament of "things always work out in the end" and while I may have to leave my students abruptly, there is something positive that can be drawn from the time we've spent together.
Good luck to all those who are job searching. Keep your light sabers handy and believe in and use "the Force". You'll be just fine.