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The Big Move, My Career

Updated on January 21, 2017

Followed My Passion. Found My Home

August 29, 2016- My first day as the Student Services Coordinator at Middle Georgia State University. I was excited to be here. You see, I started job searching for my first Student Affairs position in November of 2013. I graduated in May 2014 and struggled through my first job search. I've written about my struggles; it was my way of coping. My passion for working with students was groomed through undergraduate student leadership and graduate internships. I fell in love with building up students and watching them grow. I also fell in love with programming. Programming on college campuses requires much work. It means less sleep and long hours. I signed up for it, however, it doesn't make it easy.

My previous position was Coordinator for Diversity & Inclusion. My sole purpose was to program for underrepresented students and to make sure all students, faculty, and staff feel welcomed on campus. For me, this position was ideal. I was able to combine to of my passions: 1. working with students of color 2. programming. The only caveat was where I was doing the job. I was in a place that was not conducive to my growth as a newer, black professional. I was lucky enough to find individuals there who shared my same feelings of being in that space. While in my division, I felt isolated and left out. After expressing this numerous times to my supervisor, I finally decided I was done. I had to leave. Thus, I embarked on my third job search in two years.

As the search for a student affairs job trudged on, I felt uneasy about my prospects. I had interview after interview and nothing stuck. I was even lucky enough to the coveted on campus interview: the last step in securing a job. Problem was, I was not landing the jobs afterwards. It sucks to hear no so many times. You begin to question who you are, why you're doing this, and your skills. It can turn into a downward spiral into an abyss of self loathing. Luckily for me, another opportunity was brought to me: graduate school once more.

Lincoln University in Missouri has a Higher Education Masters program geared toward Historically Black Colleges/Universities. With all that I had dealt with at PWIs and what was going on within the country, I decided this might be my next step. I applied, got accepted, and even got offered a fellowship. I was excited to go back to school to at lease be doing something. I had a plan, or so I thought. As I was preparing to leave for MO I got a text from my big brother. "Would you move to Georgia to work if the opportunity presented itself?" In my mind I screamed HELLL YES!! I had grown a strong love for Georgia and wanted to move there, unfortunately, I could never land the interview. I couldn't even get a phone interview. I had given up. A few days later we talked about the potential position and what it entailed. I got butterflies, it was everything that I wanted in a position and it included having my mentor and big brother, as my supervisor. I knew that I would still have to convince him and the committee that I was the right fit.

I had two interviews (phone, Skype) and i demolished them both. I felt very confident in what transpired. I was lucky enough that I was chosen for the position. I am now living and working in Georgia. Not only that, I am an official Georgia resident. It has been a very rewarding experience thus far. I have had great turn outs to events, i have met great students, I am home.

© 2017 DeJuan Mitchell


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