In August of 2017, I made my first major move. I left my family and friends and moved to Buffalo, New York, a place where I had little history but was about to become my home. To my surprise, I’ve learned more in these last few months than I did in my four years as an undergrad. Having almost completed my first year in graduate school, I want to share the things that got me from then to now:
- Find time to work on and maintain your physical health. Your mental wellbeing and overall health will thank you.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone. Moving to a new city alone can quickly get lonely but you never know where a potential friend can be found.
- Explore your city. Yes, adjusting to grad school can be stressful but staying inside by yourself can be even more stressful. Get out there and see what your city has to offer (FYI: Buffalo rocks!)
- Savor your alone time. Sometimes just taking a minute to think and reflect on yourself is just as great as exploring your surroundings.
- Don’t be afraid to rely on your support systems. Call your people, reach out! Tell them you miss them, or you love them, or plan a visit. Do not isolate yourself.
- Your work friends (whether you have a graduate assistantship, a full time job, or a part time job) will become some of your favorite people.
- It’s OK to fail or get lost in your new city (even with a GPS). Do not panic just keep moving forward.
- Google is a beautiful tool for almost all the questions you have (like where can I go to get my car fixed?)
- It doesn’t take long to make your new city your home. Buffalo isn’t a bad place to be! Who doesn’t want to study in a city that has weekly festivals and daily activities and food trucks!?
- Find a sleep schedule that allows you to feel like your best self. (Hint: go to sleep and get up at the same time every day).
This move has challenged every aspect of my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for Canisius taking a chance on me or Buffalo welcoming me with open arms.
By: Rachel Bediako
A little over a year ago I had a meltdown during my International Communication class. I will never forget sitting in the second to last row and reflecting on where my life was going. I was 21 years old, had one semester left in undergrad, and had no plan. The majority of my friends were signing contracts with businesses, deciding which post-grad internship would help shape their resumes, or raving about the new cities they would explore while in graduate school. Meanwhile, I was breaking down. The only thing I knew was that I would be directing a summer camp, which would be over at the end of August.
So I did what any intelligent person would do. I pulled out my phone and googled “communication graduate programs.” To give you a little background I changed my major five times in undergrad before choosing communication. I learned at an early age that public speaking was my passion and talking in general was my favorite sport. I started as a telecommunication major but after a year of being told what to do, I decided to find a major that would teach me the art of communication and the freedom of expression. I stumbled upon a webpage with hundreds of potential programs. Did I mention that I was in the middle of Bowling Green, Ohio at the time? If you’ve never heard of it I totally get it because no one has. It was my hidden treasure and it was breaking my heart just thinking about leaving, but I had to make a decision and I was not ready to go into the work force — partially because I did not prepare and partially because I was not 35 and could not run for president. As I continued my search I knew that home (Cleveland, OH) was out of the question. I kept scrolling until I found a major that I loved and a school that I could not pronounce. The program was called Communication and Leadership and the school was Canisius College. I sat there stunned because I knew that communication was my life and leadership has always been second nature. For the rest of my hour and fifteen-minute class, I researched the program and got just enough information to answer all of the questions I knew my parents would throw my way.
The moment class was over I ran outside and called my mom. I didn’t even let her say hello and began explaining that I wasn’t ready to be a full time employee, how I saw myself continuing my education, and my desire to add more degrees to my wall. I told her that I found a school, a program, and I was determined to go. She didn’t even question it. In her wonderful mom tone, she said “Ok. Do what you’ve gotta do.” That was in October 2016. By March 2017, I had completed my application, visited Buffalo, and was accepted into the Communication and Leadership program while simultaneously scrambling to figure out how I would finance school (don’t worry I figured it out). Stay tuned for my next post to read about the 10 things graduate school has taught me thus far.