So, how cool is senior year, right? Doing so many fun things because you know it’s your last opportunity to do them, but then actually facing the fact that it’s your last time doing them. As an orientation leader, my consciousness of “the end” has been with me since that last week in June when I announced to approximately a million families and incoming students that I’m a senior and had my last go round at the absolute best job ever. To some extent, having that experience over the summer helped me to realize that this really is our last shot at everything St. Joe’s has to offer, so I’ve made valiant efforts to do all of my favorite things this semester.
Aside from all the fun I’m having, Post Grad Life (PGL, affectionately) is looming over my shoulder, dying to be recognized. So, you know what, I decided why not take charge of my own life? The reality is that we’ll be finishing this stage in our lives in just over 6 short months and we all need some direction on what’s next before then.
There’s the ever beloved gap year. Frankly, I praise all who have the luxury of enjoying a gap year. Just going back to their childhood rooms in their parents’ home and not have to pay bills, or cook everyday, or have school to worry about. Sadly, that’s not quite my reality …
There’s the also beloved year of service. This, is super cool, and I’ve considered, but recently nixed from my list.
The teach English in a foreign country option. Now, don’t get me wrong … this was one of my favorites after the semester I spent in Granada, Spain last year. I was ready to take a gap year my junior year to go reestablish myself in a new country teaching English and come back to finish school when it tickled my fancy. As the time comes nearer, however, the idea just doesn’t seem as appealing to me. I’ve dreamed of going to some new city after college and building my life and my mom, for years, has said “pretty soon, we’ll all need a passport to visit Kayla.” As PGL becomes more of a reality, something is really telling me to stay in Philly, my home city. I do different things around the city and visit the campuses of Temple and UPenn and find so many new reasons to love my city.
I know, I know, I can always leave for a couple years and come back. So the story goes. Now that I’ve ruled out so many different options, what am I left with?
You know how everyone says they’re not ready to be an adult yet? For me, I feel like I’ve been an adult for a few years now and I’m ready to take it slow again. It was super cool to live off campus and have an off campus job to pay all my bills and buy fun kitchen appliances on credit, but I just want to get back to the basics.
To get to the meat of this here, I really have NO idea what I want out of a masters program, besides the actual degree, or where I went to spend my time for grad school, so how the heck am I narrowing down this list of every school in America that has a school counseling program?
Here’s where my excel spreadsheet has come in pretty handy!
You don’t need to see it, but you do need to get the gist that it’s a hot mess and that’s the point! We’ve got color coding, we’ve got categories, we’ve got all my notes.
Color Coding: School location. So I’ve got 4 characterizations: close, relatively close, relatively far, far. The close schools are within the 1 hour or so radius, the relatively close schools are in the 3 hour radius, the relatively far are drivable, but more convenient to fly, and the far are undoubtedly airplane destinations.
Categories: School, website, Grad Assistant Ships, Res Life Grad Assistantships, Application Deadline, Application Fee, Number of Recommendation Letters, Cost of Living, Length of Program and Visit dates. First, I ruled out all schools that require the GRE, because no. I had an idea of what cities I might like to go to, so I chose schools from there. Then, I added in any Jesuit schools that weren’t in the mix already. My mentor told me it might be a nice idea to consider money, which is where the cost of living and GA categories come in! Now, I’m just left to visit as many places as my wallet can afford (lolz, sorry west coast schools) in order to actually get a feel for the school and potentially a new city.
*deep breath* Whew, this is like dissertation level research here, if you can’t tell.
So, what’s the moral of the story? This is just my journey into PGL, but I’ve been taking charge and making it my own, and I encourage you to do the same! I hope this was helpful to somebody in their own selection process and if anybody has any more ideas on how I can narrow down grad schools, please comment below!
Thanks for reading and happy (almost) PGL!