Higher Education & Student Affairs

For more information about Baylor's HESA

1,500 Miles from Home by Megan Foo

Megan Foo, Grad Hall Director in Texana

Megan Foo, Grad Hall Director in Texana

Three months ago, I packed up all of my things and made the 1,500-mile drive from coastal Southern California to Waco to begin Baylor’s HESA program.

When I began my grad school search about a year ago, many of the people at my undergraduate institution encouraged me to explore options outside of California as a way of learning how to adapt to a new institution in a different part of the country. With this wisdom in mind, I began to construct my list of what I wanted in a grad program. I wanted a program that would allow me to have an apprenticeship through which I could gain practical, hands-on experience. I wanted a program that would challenge me academically, and would equip me with the knowledge I needed to launch a career in student affairs. I also hoped to find a program that would cover most, if not all, of my tuition. Baylor’s HESA program had all of the elements I was looking for.

Even though Baylor’s program had everything that I was looking for, the thought of picking up my life and moving halfway across the country all by myself was terrifying. I had spent the past four years building my life in San Diego. I was rooted in a great community of friends, I could navigate without the help of a GPS, I loved my undergraduate institution and I was comfortable. The thought of having to start over in a new place was intimidating, but I knew that the transition would help me grow both personally and professionally.

One of the reasons that people suggested I go to a different institution for graduate school was so that I could see the differences in how schools operated. I did my undergrad at a large public research institution, which, as I’m sure you can guess, has a very different culture than Baylor, a private, faith-based institution. One of the main differences I’ve noticed is in the way that Baylor integrates faith into the campus culture. At Baylor I am able to fully integrate my faith and my identity as a Christian into my daily work. I’m free to talk about my faith, and I’m able to pray with my students when they’re having a rough day. The role that faith plays in campus life was both the biggest culture shock I experienced, and the thing that I’ve been most grateful for as I’ve adjusted to the daily rhythms of being at Baylor.

Have you ever heard people say, “Growth happens when you get outside of your comfort zone?” I’ve found it to be true. Moving to Waco put me about 1,500 miles outside of my comfort zone, and there have been some challenging days when I find myself missing my friends, the beach and low humidity. There have also been great days when I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be at this point in my life.

My advice to you as you begin to look at different graduate programs? Don’t be afraid to go somewhere new. Take a deep breath, be bold, and go.


yolande_graham • October 18, 2016

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