There comes a time in our lives when we have to wait to hear back from bigger and better things. For instance, think back to those days when you were in high school. I remember when I was touring different schools and writing my applications. After sending those applications, the anxiety set in as I waited for a response. Now that I am almost done with my college career, I cannot imagine the way it feels to apply to grad school and go through that anxious waiting process again.
Grad school is not for everyone, and while I recently started toying with the idea of applying, I realized a few things. It is not the work that I would have to do that freaks me out; it’s the fear of rejection. I would hate to go through the frightful application process again for it to not amount to anything.
However, if you are applying to grad school, I congratulate you on furthering your education. I know that it can’t be easy to undergo something that has the potential to change your life forever.
Similarly to students moving forward in their education, professors have the opportunity to get a better sense of job security in their fields by applying for tenure.
I spoke with Dr. Matthew Skillen, assistant professor of English, about his recent venture with the application process that he had to go through to be recommended for tenure.
Skillen has been a professor at Elizabethtown College for the past six years, and during that time, he has formed many different relationships with his fellow faculty members and students.
Over time, he developed the materials that he needed in order to make a record for his application process. The purpose of this record is to be evaluated in terms of scholarship, service and teaching. The files that he has compiled over the last six years are the different articles that he has written, all of the IDEA evaluations his students completed and personal essays — materials that equate to over 300 pages.
All of his records were then sent to a faculty committee to review. The reviewing process takes about two months as the faculty committee examines the records of all the professors eligible for tenure and goes through their entire curriculum.
I have had Skillen as a professor for a few classes, and I can honestly say that he is completely devoted to his students and is passionate about the courses that he teaches. He shared with me that the whole teaching process allows one to acclimate to the culture of the College. He also hoped that he was able to prove that he made a contribution and will receive good news.
It must be nervewracking to advance in your career or in your education. I think that going further in your career is a great thing to do. Sometimes you don’t know what you are capable of doing until you try. You’ll never really know what you are worth if you don’t take that leap and go for what you aspire.
We are all going to have to do things in life that scare us and that will cause us anxiety. There will always be those moments in which we have to patiently wait for someone to tell us the answer to our futures. We shouldn’t run away from these moments but face them head-on. You never know what is waiting for you if you don’t take that extra step.
Whether you’re waiting to hear back from a job or an internship interview, your top choice of grad school or even waiting to hear if you got accepted for tenure, just remember that everything happens for a reason.
I wish the best of luck to all of you who are waiting patiently to hear the results of your future. It takes courage to make that extra step, and I’m sure that it will all be worth it.