Grad School Problems

As I walked out of the sixth office I had been in that day, it finally dawned on me that I had spent the past five hours on a wild goose chase. Everyone I met kept passing me onto the next person with relatively limited knowledge of what that person actually did. Well, there’s five hours I will never get back and, in hindsight, would have much rather spent doing pretty much anything else than running around from building to building trying to find someone, anyone, who could help me with my application to law school.

 

Now look, I get it. I’m a 20-year-old University student who should be able to figure out a simple application form by himself, but a little help tends to go a long way with these kinds of things. I wasn’t looking for someone to hold my hand every step of the way, but I would assume that there would be someone at Acadia who could help me out should I have some difficulty. Well, it turns out that person does not exist.

 

I remember just three short years ago I was in the same position I am now: jumping from Website to Website trying to figure out where I wanted to apply to school. With the overwhelming amount of programs, schools, majors, and everything else, there was a University advisor at the high school to help each student comb through the weeds and figure out the right program for them. So, being an educational institution, why is it that Acadia doesn’t have a grad school advisor? This has never made sense to me.

 

The amount of opportunities for students to find jobs straight out of University is enormous. We have Co-op programs, internships, job fairs and so many other great relationships with employers to find our students jobs right out of school, but what about the students who want to further their education at a graduate level? Sure, we have a grad school fair, but if we have no idea what we are looking for, what good does that do? It’s like going to the grocery store without a list; you walk through the aisles blindly trying to remember everything you need to make the meal, only to get home and realize you’ve forgot the key ingredient.

 

After already complaining for hundreds of words, I should shed some positive light on this situation. Every person I visited during my hunt for a graduate school advisor wanted to help me. Each and every one of the six people I was directed to genuinely cared about helping me. The problem was that helping me apply to law school wasn’t included in any of their job descriptions or competencies. Despite his or her best wishes and efforts to pass me on to the right person, there was no right person to be passed on to.

 

I had set aside time to sit down with someone regarding my applications early in the year so I could ensure I would be ready when it came time to apply. Now I sit with a week left until applications are due wondering whether I have done everything right and whether I am even applying to the right programs. That’s not a very reassuring feeling for a student whose lifelong goal has been to go to law school.

 

Yesterday I spent six hours filling out applications and completed a grand total of zero. I probably spent half of that time simply trying to figure out the which programs apply to me. Our high schools have figured out that students need some guidance when it comes to finding the right school for them, so why has Acadia not yet figured out this simple fact? If I want to sit down with someone and ask one simple question about my application, I have to make an appointment at Dalhousie and spend half a day there for something that would take a whole seven minutes if I could sit down with somebody at my own school. Why is it that I am paying thousands of dollars in tuition and other fees at a school that isn’t even equipped to help me get where I want to ultimately go. My own school, which I’ve loved for the past three years is hanging me out to dry when I need it the most.

 

All in all, I’m not asking for a babysitter or someone to complete these applications for me. What I’m asking for is what my high school gave me when I needed it: peace of mind. As I sit here two weeks before applications are due, a little help would go a long way. Writing for the news paper, taking a full course load, writing an honours thesis, taking law school admissions tests and trying to apply to a graduate program can be overwhelming at times, but being sent to six different offices to be told six different things and ultimately find out that there’s no one to help you takes the cake. I am not as upset about not having anyone to help, as I am the fact that everyone seems to think that we do have that person. It’s time for Acadia to step up and realize that not every student wants to go into the workforce right away. Just because we have a select few graduate programs doesn’t mean that students that want to pursue further education want to go into these programs nor should they get less help than those who want to work. If Acadia wants us to become “lifelong learners” as their mission statement explicitly states, they should be providing us with the means to be able to do so.

Andrew Donaldson

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