I have a lot of experience being the new girl. I have called New Jersey, Missouri, Colorado, Chicagoland Illinois, Iowa, and rural Illinois all home. I went to 3 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 1 high school, a college and a graduate school where I did not know anyone, and then started 2 professional jobs in 1 semester.
We moved around a lot growing up which took me to many different states and allowed me to get experience in making friends, being lonely, and leaning on my family. It taught me how to balance keeping in touch with long-distance friends while putting yourself out there to make new ones. Each move was a combination of excitement and anxiety, and each one made me stronger.
The institution where I accepted my first professional position in July eliminated all of their traditional undergraduate degree programs less than 90 days after I was hired as a transfer admissions representative. I was back to job searching and writing cover letters, grudgingly, but was thankful to be able to find a position as a transfer admissions counselor at a campus much closer to home. It all worked out.
It is both different and the same when it comes to post college/graduate school making friends and being the new girl. I am working on making friends outside of work in the community we live in. I joined a running group and am working on creatively finding other ways to find my niche here. Transitioning into 2 new positions in 1 semester has given me a taste of being the new girl at work twice, in a short time period.
As I was making my way through my first week in my new position feeling like I just went through all of this HR paperwork (because I just did), I realized that maybe this is not as bad as it seems. Just like when I was thirteen, I am learning what it means to balance keeping in touch with an old institution while getting acquainted with a new one. Not only do I get another opportunity at a totally different kind of campus but I get to meet a whole new team of people which has already been a huge.
My dad always told me with each move that I was “gathering friends”. It is a strength of mine to keep in touch with those that I have had to leave behind and show them how much they still mean to me. The last few months have taught me that the real world is not that much different than being a little girl, moving around, scared of leaving things behind and anxious about what is ahead. I know that each of those moves and transitions has made me stronger and that each step in my professional career is doing the same, even if it is twice in one semester.
I am enjoying maintaining relationships from my first professional position and starting a new one. This experience has given me the opportunity to meet twice the professionals in one semester. Both communities have been welcoming, open to hearing my thoughts, supportive of my learning, and has shown a deep care for me as a whole person. For that, I am so thankful. This storm cloud did indeed have a silver lining.