What about when there is no homework?

I was on Klout.com earlier this week, checking up on how much klout I have, who I’m influencing, whether I’ve earned any good free stuff lately, etc. And alas, while I was there, I discovered that Klout thinks I am influential about a new topic: HOMEWORK.

That’s right, the internet knows how much homework I do. This caused me to reflect on a few things. Firstly, I’m sorry to everyone who has read all of my Facebook and Twitter posts about homework in the past year and a half (and by year and a half, I mean…6 years or so). Klout did not explicitly tell me this, but I think that my influence in this area has a lot to do with complaining. The second thought that went through my mind was how I am about to become completely non-influential about homework in approximately 3 months.

I’m not concerned about the latter part because I am going to lose my chances of getting a Subaru snuggie or some other prize from Klout, but because I am going to be confused as all get out when I don’t have homework. I have a historically love-hate relationship with homework. Before I even had real homework as a child, I used to play school with my sister and give her take home assignments to complete and turn in. I don’t know that she could actually write at this time, so it was rather pointless, but there is something about the act of producing and synthesizing a product based on the knowledge you are supposed to be attaining in a class (and getting validated, especially) that I just love.

Sadly, I’m also a classic procrastinator. I think that I actually get more validation for a job well done when I completed it in an inhuman amount of time. I’ve always been the last minute writer who churns out A’s. I’m not saying this to make enemies, but to illustrate my point. Homework is a major part of my life. Writing those papers is represents a series of quantifiable, validating landmarks in my life that says “Hey, look, you’re doing something! Go you!”

So when the new Fall semester rolls around, I think that at first I am going to celebrate my new-found non-student status like a kid in a candy store. But once I’m done stuffing my face with nonpareils and gummy candies in the shape of bugs, I may be a little bit (a lot) bored. (That was metaphorical, but if anyone wants to send me a graduation gift, those are some of my favorite candies)

So starting now, I’m taking suggestions on what to do in my non-homework grown up life. So please, give me a hand on this one, folks.

An Open Letter to SA Grads…

Dear Student Affairs Grad Student:

Hi, I’m just writing to tell you that it’s going to be okay.

What is going to be okay, you ask? Well, whatever is bugging you right now. Whatever is stressing you out, keeping you up at night, filling your planner, your email inbox, and your brain. It’s going to be okay.

Now, I’m not going to make false promises, hold your hand, or tell you things I can’t guarantee. I don’t really know you, after all, so the specifics are irrelevant. I’m not sure if you are going to get the job that you are really pulling for. I don’t know how late you are going to have to stay up tonight to finish that paper. I can’t say for sure how your NODA or ACUHO-I phone interviews are going to go. I don’t know how many more times you will have to edit your research design, whether your student staff will listen during staff meeting this week, or if you will have an emergency on-call situation in the middle of the night.

I can tell you that your family probably is still a little foggy about what exactly it is that you do for work. Some things you just have to accept…

I can also tell you that in spite of it all, you can do it. And you can do more than just scrape by.

You can help people. You can make students feel like they are worth it. You can save someone’s life. You can offer a helping hand to a colleague. You can inspire a student to stay in school. You can help someone discover their passion. You can share your knowledge with the field. You can teach¬† and learn. You can build relationships, manage conflicts, give the occasional hug, and change people’s lives. So thanks for that, by the way. If no one has stopped recently to tell you that you are doing really important, great things, I want to tell you that you are. I appreciate it.

Furthermore, you are going to get through grad school and become a great new professional. All of the bumps in the road are part of the journey. I say this as no stranger to rejection, late nights, early mornings, long weekends,  and tearful crises.

When it’s all said and done, you are going to be more than okay. You are going to be awesome. And why shouldn’t you be? Do you feel awesome? I think you’re awesome. I believe in you.

Sincerely,

Ashley

P.S. I would like to specifically dedicate this to the UMaine HEd class of 2012 and to Cory.