What Keeps You Going?

It’s fair to assume that life as a William and Mary grad student will be busy. I’ve lived with students in both the EPPL (Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership) and C&I (Curriculum and Instruction) programs, and I can verify that those students work hard. EPPL students balance their academic classes with assistantships and internships, while C&I students cram student teaching and classwork into one year.  And as a student in the SPACE (School Psychology and Counselor Education) program, I can tell you truthfully that fitting in internship hours with classes can be tough. Each student at the School of Ed has their own end goal in sight: the reason why they’re here, the motivation for late nights of studying and reading and paper-writing, the destination that will make all of the hard work worth it. But how do you keep yourself going when you’re crazy busy and exhausted and drinking more coffee than is medically advisable?

Here’s my thought: it’s the little moments. It’s the birthday party for your best friend, full of sugary cake and music on a record player and slightly inappropriate jokes. It’s celebrating Halloween with your cohort, cracking up at each other’s punny costumes and making up random games to play and watching your friends greet your dog like an old friend. It’s the car ride where you and your friend sing your hearts out to Kanye West and Kesha and The Lonely Island, even though both of you are actually making up half the words, and he sings in a falsetto that makes you laugh so hard your abs hurt. It’s a visit to Chick-Fil-A when you and your friend are too exhausted to cook and just need to be together and admit how tired you are to someone who gets it and then eat some really great fries. It’s that moment when your client has an insight and you see them realize just how strong and courageous and capable they are. It’s the midnight call to your old college friends when you just need a little bit of a reminder that the paper will get written and the presentation will get done and the stress will pass. It’s a walk around Williamsburg when you get to be grateful that you live in a place with gorgeous weather and beautiful fall leaves and people who wear colonial-era costumes for a living.

It’s reminding each other that yes, we have aspirational end goals and we’re going to be educators and administrators and counselors and school psychologists someday, but there’s so much to appreciate and enjoy in the moment, too. It’s realizing that even with busyness and stress, there are so many small joys and memories being made. And it’s being grateful that you’re at a school where you’ll have the challenge and support to make the most out of all of it.