Photo credits: Adam Niescioruk via Unsplash
As the semester comes to an end, many will be graduating and going onward in their lives. Whether to live in a big city or a small town or stay around the borough for now. Off to make music, make art, make change, make life, make the world a better place. Hopefully not going out there to just play the rat race.
As for myself this is my sixth and final year at West Chester University, 2016–2020 as an undergrad and then 2020–2022 as a graduate student. I know I’ve become a changed person over the years. Like a seed planted in the ground when you burrow into college you don’t know the tree you’ll grow to be. The growth is due to the sun, the rain and the soil. I’ve felt that during my experience at West Chester University. But like the seed that was planted in the ground, I have grown. Growth due to people all around me. Growth due to experiences good and bad. And growth due to reflection, critique and action.
I suggest you the reader take time to reflect on where you were and where you are now. As I’ve done so, I don’t just see the change or growth, but I feel it too. Just like the seed planted in the ground you will feel different. You don’t know how you’ll grow or how you’ll change, but it will happen.
Truly my own changes have been where I see myself going in the world. Originally thinking of going into K–12 teaching, certainly things changed. As I got involved on campus in ways that really made me grow, I further sprouted through opportunities on campus. I didn’t want to see those leaves of opportunity fall off.
So, after working a variety of on campus jobs I decided to jump away from K–12 into higher education. I decided to apply for the Higher Education Policy & Student Affairs Master’s program. The application I recall myself finalizing in the library wondering would this be where I’d really go and if this was what I truly wanted to do.
Only weeks later I recall having a phone call with the coordinator of the program the day the pandemic began. It was the day I heard from my student teaching cooperating teacher, that we would be closed for two weeks. The shock in my head was from something I wouldn’t have imagined. It was before then that I had the idea to go down this path of this Master’s during this global pandemic, a choice I don’t regret one bit. However, getting the time to truly reflect as student teaching was put on pause then online gave me the ability to see how I’d change.
Now not only was there a change of me to decide to go into this Master’s and go into student affairs, but now over these two years in my graduate program I have changed. Gained experience in organizing, in activism, in fighting for a better world. That all has led me to go down a path of continued organizing, activism and fighting for a better world.
I didn’t see myself here a year ago, nor before the pandemic, nor before entering West Chester University in fall of 2016 where I am today or where I’m likely to go and grow.
Take time to count the leaves grown, branches fallen and holes made. As you continue to grow wherever you go and in whatever you do, just know and remember your roots. Remember West Chester University. Remember the times you had, friends you made, challenges you had, and take the time to reflect where you’ve been and where you are going.
I don’t know exactly where I will go and how I’ll grow, but that is ok. The world is always changing and while we might change with it, we will also still have our roots, some of which have connections with West Chester University.
Nick Marcil is a WCUPA graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Higher Education Policy & Student Affairs. NM871511@wcupa.edu