Andover, and over, and over again

This weekend I spent my time in Andover, Massachusetts and with transportation it’s about 45 minutes from Boston Logan International Airport — not bad at all. I’ve never been to Andover before so I had no idea what to expect. Let’s just say, Andover is a small, quaint little town with lots of green hills and trees, secluded from the likes of anything as “famous” as Boston.

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I was in town for an event my program, Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), was hosting at Phillips Academy. It was the 2013 Recruiter’s Weekend — an annual event that gives interested/prospective graduate students a wonderful opportunity to meet with representatives from over 30 universities that are a part of the IRT Consortium. As mentioned in my previous post on successful professional networking tidbits, introductions and a firm handshake can actually go a long way (one of my fellow associates actually got “lectured” by one of the recruiters tell her that her original handshake was not “good enough”).

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I arrived at Boston International Airport around 9am and prepared myself for the long day ahead. I didn’t actually get into Phillips Academy until about 12:30 in the afternoon. Five hours later it was time for the Recruiters Fair and with a little bit of luck, I made it out of there alive and feeling mediocre about my performance. Perhaps it was because it was already 9pm and I’ve been travelling from a Redeye out of Long Beach, arrived in an unfamiliar 90 degree + humidity environment, and had to discuss who I was, where I’m from, and what I’m interested in studying for a good chunk of the day. I’m really hoping I made some sort of memorable impact on at least two of the representatives.

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The very next day, the second part of the Recruiters Fair began. At 9am we were ready to with slacks and button-ups pressed and professional folder in hand. I felt more confident going into the second round partially because I was able to get some sleep, it wasn’t as hot or humid as the previous day, and I have way more energy in the morning than the evening. And fortunately, I nailed it the second time around. I felt positive, organized, more personable and professional, and really connected with the recruits (you should see how many follow-up emails I’ve written to say thank you and hopefully help guide me in the right direction).

Okay… I can see how this is getting awfully boring and dull. I’ll come back and add some pictures from my trip to make this post a little more tolerable.

My main point of the trip: being around people of color again, especially people of color with similar goals, interests, and readiness for change and academic endeavors, was a blessing and a privilege. I haven’t felt part of a community like that since I graduated from UC Berkeley and working with the Pilipino community there. Honestly, it reaffirmed and validated my belief in the power of individuals of color working together and towards a common goal/area of interest. I found that the most empowering and rewarding part of my trip. I met about 20-30 strong colleagues that were going places and had a statement to make within their field as an underrepresented minority.

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I found strength in my colleagues and knew I was heading in the right direction. Being brown and with people who embraced their brown skin as well was a noteworthy moment for me. I can confidently say that I was happy to have gone that weekend with people who “get it” and “get me”.

Lastly, I just wanted to share my ideal schools for my pursuit in graduate studies within higher education and student affairs. By no means is this an exhaustive and sequential list of preference, but just something to help ground me in this long, tedious, and tiresome process:

  • University of Michigan
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Rhode Island
  • Boston University
  • Harvard University
  • Washington State University
  • University of Maryland/College Park
  • Stanford University
  • University of Vermont
  • New York University
  • California State University, Long Beach

This isn’t going to be an easy process and I know I’ll have to constantly revisit this list, do some more research, email professors and staff, and do it again and again and over and over again. Well, wish me luck!

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