FIFO, the Three “C’s,” Changes

“First in, first out.”

An odd and interesting pairing of phrases referring to keeping food fresh… and military tactics.

Anyway, it seems that the first year of graduate school is coming to an end.  All of the snow has melted, the sun is out on a daily basis, and Michigan State University’s wildlife (ducks, sparrows, robins, squirrels) is in full begging force.  In a week and a half, I will have completed my first year’s coursework for my masters program.  In a month, I will be living in Boston while working at MIT.  In a year, I will be able to attach “M.A.” to the end of my name.

But what really have I learned in the past 9 months?

It seems that, not only in the realm of academic achievement, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself.  As someone working with undergraduate students in crisis, conflict, and notably, confusion, it’s imperative that I know myself.  A few experiences that I’ve had this semester have challenged some of my own beliefs and inherently, the way I interact with students.  I feel that, as an adult only four or five years older than most of my students, I’m not at a stage where being entirely concrete about all of my beliefs is necessary.  Finally, I’m not sure if I ever need to be completely concrete.

That being said, it’s being extremely valuable to know some central tenets to my being.  Some of those revolve around social justice and conflict resolution, particularly when power structures influence student-student issues.  If I’m not cognizant of those structures, I may be unfair in assisting in the mediation process.  I have held steadfast to what I have felt I needed to.

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