CandidlyG (a blog series dedicated to unfiltered perspectives from guest contributors) continues— this time with our very own Digital Learning team member, Thomas Espy. BOLO in January for his life story part 2.
This is Thomas Espy, the Digital Media Specialist from the Digital Learning team at Davidson College. As Ikra mentioned in her initial blog post, I started my journey at Davidson College around the same time she did, in the early summer of 2019. Side note: I recently completed my sixth month here, which is difficult to believe since it seems like I just started last week. What I mean is, I am still relatively new to the world of Digital Learning in higher education and taking in all the information can be like drinking from a firehose at times. That said, I have truly enjoyed every moment. This is likely due to the fact that my colleagues, particularly those on my team (i.e., Sundi, Daniel, Tiffany, and Ikra), but basically everybody in the library at Davidson College, are all very talented professionals as well as all around wonderful human beings with whom to learn from and work alongside.
Ikra recently sent out a call to our team in search of blog posts for our website. I was hesitant at first, since I rarely write for people that I do not know. Not to mention, I have never actually written a blog post in my life. That said, I have been looking to challenge myself in new ways personally and professionally, so I agreed. Once I agreed, I then needed to pick a topic AND keep it to five-hundred-ish words, both of which seemed nearly impossible to me, but I have settled on writing about my transition from full-time graduate student and emerging filmmaker to full-time Digital Media Specialist at Davidson College, particularly the many adjustments that come with such a transition. I have also decided to write this over the course of a few interconnected blog posts since I am not at all a concise writer.
But before I dive into my most recent transition, I feel like I need to talk about my first transition from graduate school to “the real world.” I have always been a cinephile, but I have not always been an aspiring filmmaker. In the winter of 2009, I had graduated with an associate’s degree in the arts and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Kent State University (in my home state of Ohio), but I had no idea what I wanted to actually do with my life (which could be a whole separate blog post). Then, in the summer of 2012, I received a master’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, for Student Affairs in Higher Education and I was anxiously seeking employment, which I eventually found at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Although my colleagues and the students at John Carroll were great, I realized quite quickly that I was not very content with the position. I took some time to really reflect on my life. What is it that I wanted to do in higher education? At what type of institution did I want to work? I knew I wanted to gain more experience teaching, possibly continue my education, and someday perhaps teach full time, but I also needed a creative outlet.
I am a visual artist, and I have admired and created art since I was first able to perceive my own existence. So, after working at John Carroll for nine months, I began the search again, but this time I narrowed my search to art institutions, colleges, and universities. I thought perhaps that working in student affairs with artistic colleagues and creative students would be more satisfying to me. A few weeks into my search, I received a job offer from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and I decided to accept.
I promise to get to the point in part 2 of this post. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the winter break!