Social Worker

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm a grad student!!

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week have to be ranked as two of the most exciting days of my life this year. I attended orientation for graduate school and I am ready to get to business. Let me see if I can catch you up...

The night before orientation started I was extremely nervous. I was excited and scared and worried and ready to go. The School of Social Work has a listserve so many of the students entering this semester have been communicating and getting to know each other. One of our classmates set up a group on so we were able to see pics of each other and get to know even more. Several of the students even met at a popular restaurant here as a social last week. I wasn't able to make it, but I'll explain all that later. Back to the night before orientation...I had a moment of uncertainty so I decided to email on the listserve and ask if there were other non-traditional students who would be attending school part time and working full time. I received a quick response from one person and she even made a bet with me that she was older than me. Then several responses began trickling in that there were several part time students. I guess I knew that would be the case, but just was having a panic moment.

I felt that night the same way I remember feeling when I was a child the night before school starts. I had a hard time making myself go to bed. I was rearranging what notebook, pen, and bag I would take. I even considered laying out my clothes, but since the cats tend to sleep on anything that I wear I decided against that. I finally went to sleep at one or two AM and a really good friend of mine woke me up then next morning by calling me when he woke up to make sure I would make it on time.

On a side note, I found one of my new classmates on myspace and we have talked a little through there. She sent me a message that night saying "you are NOT old". Of course, I know that 29 is not old. I remember; however, that when I was completing my undergrad degree at 26 that many, many of the students were much younger and I felt a little out of place at times. So, the reason for the side note...when I stepped out of my car on the first day of orientation (on time, due to my wonderful friend's phone call) there was the classmate!! Can you believe it?! She recognized me and I recognized her and we walked into the building together with several other girls we met in the parking lot.

From there, I met person after person and talked to them about their interests, their excitement, their backgrounds, and so on. For those of you who know me, I am NOT a talker/socializer. I was extremely proud of myself that first day for really just jumping into conversations and introducing myself. It helped a little that I am in social work and we are a friendly bunch, and that I didn't have a name tag (I have no idea why) so people would ask me for my name because they couldn't just read it. I really don't know what came over me, but I was loving it.

I came home yesterday evening on cloud nine. I felt like I really fit in and was not worried about beginning this experience. My wonderful friend (from the phone call that morning) sent me an IM and asked me if he could take me to see Snakes on a Plane to celebrate my first day at grad school and I graciously accepted. Let me say, quickly, that I did NOT expect that to be a good movie and maybe it was my good mood, but I really had a fun time and enjoyed the movie. Again, another story for another time.

On to today, I was running a little later because I was so hyped up last night and I didn't get a wake up call (wasn't expecting it, I have to be responsible for myself after all) but I made it to school on time. The day started out with seminars and faculty talking to us about different aspects of grad school. We were advised on schedules, learned about the computer systems, libraries, and just general stuff. We sat with a student panel who gave us advice on time management and study techniques and so on.

About halfway through the day (actually just after lunch) I decided that I really needed to do something about a problem I was having. Those of you who know me, know I am big. I'm just being up front and bluntly honest. The desks at the school are like the old high school desks where the chair and the desk are connected. I can fit in it, but it is not comfortable, I hang over onto the desk part, and my butt hangs off the side of the chair. It was okay for about 30 minutes of sitting, but after an hour I am no longer comfortable and I can't adjust because I'm wedged in anyway. I started thinking about the three hour classes I will be taking at night and the long days and then having to sit in this desk thing and I just didn't think that would be possible. I said something to one of my new classmates and she suggested I talk to the "contact" person who seems to be the "go to" person for questions when you're not quite sure who is supposed to answer them. Okay, the old Janet, the shy Janet, the self-conscious, scaredy-cat Janet, would never have considered this...but that's just not me anymore. I talked to the man who is the "go to" person and he knew exactly my feelings. He said "oh yeah, let me show you" and then we went from classroom to classroom and he showed me the tables that were in the corners of the rooms and explained that there are usually chairs there next to the tables and lots of students use them because they are not comfortable in the desks, big or small. He was so caring and when I asked "will I look like I am sitting away from everyone else", he replied "of course not, you will blend in and feel like one of the group". I LOVE IT!! I am SO meant to be a social worker. I love the mentality, the kindness, the understanding. I'm just so happy that I am doing this.

Some of you may think that I should have figured out the whole table with chair thing on my own. Let me explain..I did, but the rooms were arranged differently for orientation because of the topics and discussions we were having. At lunch, I just took a chair in my small group room and sat at a table. At first, I felt a little awkward because everyone was sitting toward the back of the room and the table was at the front. However, eventually two girls came to sit next to me and we started talking. It turns out that both girls are from A&M (blah!! I tried not to hold that against them) and they are interested in working for CPS and we had a great discussion about finding an apartment in Austin and moving and the differences between Austin and College Station and CPS and it was really great!

So, this is my experience with the first two days of grad school. There is so much more I can say because I really am excited and had a great two days. Although, tonight I had a flat tire (another story for later) but I did not let it bring me down. It's just life saying "yep, I'm still here". LOVE IT!!!


Blogger Leslie said...

woo-hoo!! I'm excited that YOU'RE excited!! Wow - way to go taking on the uncomfortable! And how awesome that you got a considerate, supportive response! Rock on!!! I'm so happy that things are going well! Especially that you've got some classmates that are in the same boat as guys can help each other out when the going gets tough! Oh, and by the way I love the pics below!!! :0) I love ya and miss you bunches!! Definitely sounds like this week has been a LOT better than last! HUGS!!!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006 3:00:00 PM  
Blogger rekha said...

it same to me also during my oreientaion for my postgrauation programme also .but later i picked up and got in to the field of social work which has immnense potentinal of helping the people and community

Thursday, September 21, 2006 8:16:00 AM  

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