COE Graduate Student Blog

Guest Post: Almost to the finish line!

Posted by Garick Sherburn (SDA) on May 1, 2017 at 9:05 AM PDT

Last Friday, I presented my graduate portfolio for the Student Development Administration program. I mean WHAT?! I can’t believe it! Time has flown by since last year and I can’t believe that the time has already come for me to graduate. The feeling is crazy, to say the least.

One of the most interesting reflections I have discovered about my portfolio process was my lack of nerves throughout the entire process. I can name so many different times in my life when I had the little butterflies of nerves before a major event. However, this time I didn’t feel them at all. I didn’t even feel them the week before the presentation. I can’t help but wonder why I felt this way.

As I flush out my thoughts further, I think something that it boils down to is my sheer sense of pride in my accomplishments. I look at my portfolio as a living treasure that showcases who I was two years ago and who I am now. I see the scared little boy on his first day of Educational Research class to the confident young professional about to begin his first full-time career. How many people can say they have a living document that showcases all of that?! I mean, if they were part of the SDA Program then yes, a few people.

But I think my lack of nerves embodies the strong professional I have become. I didn’t feel the nerves because I know how hard I have worked and I know how my portfolio has demonstrated that. Furthermore, my community is surrounded by so many wonderful peers and mentors that have guided me and shaped me along the way. I felt their excitement in me. They were rooting for me every step of their way and their confidence gave me that extra motivation to keep fighting even when the road was tough.

I feel lucky to have been part of this portfolio process and through my studies here at Seattle University. It wasn’t all easy, trust me but the success is modeled in who we are now. I am so glad to be a future graduate of Seattle University and of the SDA Program. They made me a better person and a better professional for the future.

- Garick Sherburn (SDA) 

Embrace the (Seattle) Gray

Posted by Rose Ann E. Gutierrez (SDA) on April 11, 2017 at 11:04 AM PDT

I have had the privilege of calling five places home: the Philippines; Virginia Beach, VA; Richmond, VA; Miami, FL; and Seattle, WA. My encounters and interactions with people in these locations wove the fabric of my being. Additionally, each place taught me valuable lessons I carry with me on a daily basis. One of the most important lessons I have learned and am still continuing to learn in Seattle is to embrace the gray. finalroseann

 Embrace the gray; I mean that in the most literal and figurative sense, especially living in Seattle. I am a long-term planner, and my mode of operation is to always have a plan. My contingency plans even have contingency plans of their own, so when life goes awry, I become anxious. I do not do well with uncertainty, and for the most part, others do not either. The unknown can cause fear, doubt, and anxiety. I, however, also believe that this type of internal dissonance is meant to grow you. With that, I have learned to perceive times of uncertainty as an opportunity of growth in my confidence and faith.

Adversity builds character, and any challenge you overcome—during times of transition and uncertainty—is meant to build your mental, emotional, and physical capacity for the next level of your life. From September 2016 to March 2017, I swam in the grayest of spectrums, as I experienced the doctoral application process. I applied to four of the most competitive programs in the country, and to be honest, I experienced impostor syndrome throughout the whole process, especially as a first-generation college student. There came a time when I did not know what I would do if I did not get accepted to any program. I, however, knew to reframe my thinking because no matter the outcome, what we can control is our attitude and mindset in moving forward. With the support and words of encouragement of mentors, I learned to embrace the gray. I gave myself pep talks for reassurance that no matter what happened—if I got accepted or not—was meant to happen during this time. Even when I did not get the best news, I still embraced the gray. I had to remain humble during the process, and if it was not my time to pursue a doctoral degree, I had to accept that it was not my time. That only meant that I would remain resilient and reapply the following year. I had to accept this reality that I did not plan for to begin with. While I trusted the process and leaned in faith, I became less anxious, and unexpectedly—when I was not thinking or worrying about the process—the acceptance letter for one of my top choices of programs came! Embracing the time of uncertainty made me appreciate the outcome more, and I will be pursuing my PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles this fall.

 During these months, I think of those deciding on master’s programs in student affairs and my peers who are looking for internships or applying to secure a job or assistantship for the following academic year. People may also be trying to figure out classes or how to map out their academic trajectory in alignment with their professional goals. What a scary yet exciting time! In the field of student affairs, I have repeatedly heard, “Trust the process,” during the waiting period. I, too, have said that to others. Yes, trust the process, and if you do not trust the process, trust yourself. Trust that you are competent and capable. Trust that you are enough. Trust that you will find your fit. If the outcome is not what you expected, it is all right because you will land, where you are meant to serve your purpose. I believe each day we get a piece of life’s puzzle. Sometimes, that piece may or may not fit within our puzzle. Even so, we gain better clarity on our puzzle because we know what pieces belong or do not belong. This ultimately provides us a better understanding of our pathway in life. Learn to embrace the gray for it serves to cultivate a sense of resilience, persistence, and patience.

- Rose Ann E. Gutierrez (SDA) 


How I spent my spring break

Posted by Sara Robertson (TESOL) on April 3, 2017 at 2:04 PM PDT

During our spring break, as much as I wanted to shift gears and not think about my studies, I couldn’t. I stayed in the world of teaching English as a second language for a few days while I attended the TESOL 2017 International Convention and English Language Expo at the Washington State Convention Center. I joined thousands of other participants from around the world pondering everything from online teaching and learning to new technology tools to enhance instruction; from overseas job opportunities to new discoveries in neurolinguistics.

I felt like a kid in the candy store, with so many choices and not enough time. But it was a great chance to get an overall feel for the profession, for advances in research on second language learning and applied linguistics, and for practical curriculum and methodology tricks of the trade. Importantly, it was also a place to meet some people and learn about their work and career paths and to hear their suggestions for joining the profession.  I sat in on discussions about opportunities within the U.S. State Department, the Fulbright Program and the Peace Corps, listened to a lecture by preeminent scholar Diane Larsen-Freeman, who talked about the fractal characteristics of natural language; heard seasoned experts talk about their transitions to consulting work and curriculum and program development. The exhibition hall was full of companies and institutions dedicated to a field that is as important as ever in our globalized world. I even got a chance to meet up with a high school friend, a highly recognized expert in teaching grammar, whom I hadn’t seen for decades. Okay, so I missed a chance to go skiing once or twice, or to clean out my basement. That can wait! This time next year the meeting will be in Chicago, and I’ll no longer be a graduate student. I hope by then, though, I will have set out on the next chapter of my career! 

- Sara Robertson (TESOL) 

Why I chose Seattle University for graduate school

Posted by Meredith Richards (SPSY) on March 27, 2017 at 11:03 AM PDT

One of the greatest challenges presented to me this year was not the rigorous interview process for my School Psychology internship, it was not the multiple essays due for my classes, but it was the birth of my daughter. I was anxious about this life moment; I wondered how I would be supported by my professors, and how would I be assisted by my internship and encouraged by Seattle University.

I chose Seattle University for a number of reasons—one being how this university supports graduate students who work and have a family. As a new mom and graduate student I was overwhelmingly surprised about the advocacy I received from faculty in the College of Education. I was astonished by the accommodations from Seattle University. Possibly other universities act similarly, but I was heartened by the encouragement I received from faculty. The extensions on my assignments were extremely important for me during this sleep-deprived amazing life event. When my internship began in the fall, I felt nervous how I was going to succeed as an intern and as a mom. I felt welcomed as my internship supervisor connected me with other new mothers in the building and helped me find contacts to discuss the work-life balance. There is no one thing that can prepare you for motherhood, however Seattle University assisted with a valuable education, introduced me to a network of educational professional, and continues to encourage life outside of work. 

- Meredith Richards (SPSY)