When I started the MSAA program at the CCPA at Binghamton University during the fall of 2012, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sure, undergraduate studies were difficult at times, but graduate school? I was a first generation Master’s student in the dark and to make matters worse, it was 2 weeks before school was starting and I didn’t have a graduate assistantship. Like any 20 something would do, I went to social media. Sure enough, the hashtag “studentaffairs” sparked some interesting threads on twitter. It wasn’t long that I connected with a former MSAA CCPA graduate for some advice. As fate would have it, she knew of an opening at the Career Development Center of Binghamton University. I quickly jumped on this opportunity and interviewed with who would soon become my two (amazing) supervisors, Laura O’Neill and Wendy Neuberger. I was now ready to take on graduate school with a graduate assistantship in hand.
Starting the coursework as a first year in the MSAA program while juggling a graduate assistantship was challenging at times but with an amazing cohort at hand, we all soon became a support group. Study sessions, group work, and evening socials become our norm and we all quickly fell into our student affairs departments. Some of us started to focus on admissions work, res life, and for me, well; I found my calling in career advising. The coursework throughout the MSAA program was just the beginning for my personal and professional career. Whether it was Law of Higher Education, Counseling Methods, or Advising, I was quickly applying the theory of the coursework to my graduate assistantship. It was only after a couple of months when I was promoted from a part-time graduate assistant to full-time (and some additional work over the breaks). If it wasn’t for the amazing faculty, staff, peers, and CDC (now the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development) family, I wouldn’t be where I am today: a career and pre-law advisor for Colgate University.
I cannot explain the compassion, generosity, and comradery that my CCPA family offered during my two years. Through the struggling comps, late night lectures, and endless presentations, we all pulled together and found who we wanted to become. I am thankful that I was able to bring with me my passions of women’s rights, race, and social justice into the CCPA Master’s program through courses such as Student Development Theory, Student Addictions, and Race. My background of Sociology and Educational Psychology was not placed on the back burner during my time at CCPA; instead, it was enhanced. The classroom conversations flourished and, at times, seemed intense, but it was a learning experience for everyone involved. I believe I not only found my true professional calling, but I grew as an individual as well. I have my two years at the CCPA and the Masters of Student Affairs program to thank for that. I am excited for my future as a higher education professional and I wouldn’t be here today without the support and experiences Binghamton provided me.
Kelly Brant, Master of Science in Student Affairs Administration ’14
Career and Pre-law Advisor at Colgate University, firstname.lastname@example.org