Transition Advice for Grads and Beyond

Today’s post comes from the one and only Alexandra Garney. Alexandra has served a Graduate Residence Coordinator at the University of Central Florida for 2 years.

As an outgoing grad, Alexandra shares her advice to incoming grad. Although she wrote this for incoming grads, all professionals will benefit from reading what she has to say as her lessons learned are salient to transition at all levels!

Transition Advice for Grads and Beyond…

“Ask anyone I have worked with and they will tell you I love questions. I love learning and questions are my vehicle. In the beginning, I asked questions to combat the confusion of starting a new role. I asked how to schedule my supervisee’s shifts. I asked how to submit maintenance requests. I asked how to fill out my timesheet. I learned the ins and outs of my new role. The nuances became more clear each day.

The answers to my questions helped quiet the voices in my head that said I didn’t know what I was doing. Still though, some of these voices remained. For all of the questions I asked, many questions stayed silent. Am I enough? Can I do this role? Are they sure they hired the right person? What if I mess up?

I’m not sure why I never told anyone I was scared or confused. Part of me thinks it was because I thought I was the only one that felt that way. I was afraid that if I admitted I had no idea what I was doing, then maybe someone would agree.

Time has passed since I felt lost. These days, I know how to complete my timesheet and submit maintenance requests. Completing my timesheet and submitting work orders are not the greatest lessons I have learned though. Starting your first graduate student affairs role is about more than learning the skills included on your position description. You will learn these skills. This will take time.

You must learn how to present your authentic, mistake-making, confused self. I have some great people in my life now that I have been able to talk to about feeling this way. In these relationships, I have learned I am not the only one that starts at a new place and is overwhelmed with feeling like not enough. So find great mentors. Admit that you are still learning. Sometimes the hardest part is saying that you are struggling. Once you share your experience, you can connect with other people who can support you through this new role, share their experiences, and help you feel like you are not alone.”


You can connect with Alexandra via email.