Making the big move after college to South Dakota!

14 hours away from home

Numerous of recent grads are making the big move for that first post-graduate job. I am currently in the same boat and I am freaking out quite a bit but also very excited. I’m moving to Rapid City, SD and working in Pine Ridge, SD as a Professional Research Assistant. For those of you who don’t know about Pine Ridge, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Lakota Native American Reservation located south of the state. I’m moving there in a few days and I have all these thoughts running through my mind and I don’t think they will stop until I actually get there. Wondering if I’m making the right move or not. I’ve been doing constant research on the area and how the surrounding town environments are. I’ve been reading blogs, watching YouTube videos, reading history of the area, and asking people who have lived in the area before. At times I scare myself watching videos because of the negative publicity, then I get super excited because people tell me how it really is. Calling my future co-workers consistently asking them endless questions about the position, and they all have good things to say and that the job is very rewarding. Start date is August 15th and I could not be more excited.

I’m worried because I’m starting all new in a entirely new place. I understand that sometimes that’s a good thing to do. I took chances like this before and made the best of it. Had some great experiences, but I know this move will be very unique. It is tough leaving my family once again but I know that they have nothing but support for me. Growing up on the Mescalero Apache Reservation I should fit right in with Pine Ridge, Native towns tend to look out for one another and are very tight knitted communities where everyone knows everyone. Pine Ridge has a lot of negative publicity, but I’m not looking at it that way because I know there’s more to everything. Instead I am looking at it as an opportunity to help people and to make an impact. I’m starting my career giving back a community and that makes me really happy because I’m not much of an office guy rather more of a social bug. Had some office jobs before, and I lost my mind sitting in cubicles in front of a computer all day.

As a new professional, it is quite intimidating because I see my peers making moves. Acquiring their dream jobs and living in hip cities. Jumping on planes for work and stuff like that. I even saw one of my fellow scholars on TV. Most continuing school at great universities. I do plan on continuing my education, but decided that a gap year would be good for me to look into graduate programs and to gain some professional development. Again it is very intimidating because every aspiring professional wants that good job that they can post about every single day you know. People want to work for that big name corporation because there is high achievement in that and it is a huge accomplishment because you’re getting your name out there. You have to flaunt stuff like that because it’s earned and I see my peers doing that it’s really inspiring stuff. I know it’s not good to compare, and that’s not what I’m trying to do at all. I commend everyone out there doing their thing and capturing their goals. It is very motivating seeing things like that because I know my time will come for other big things and I’m viewing this as a stepping stone. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s up to the individual to make the best out of their opportunities no matter where they work or where they live. I know South Dakota may not be the flashiest place out there, but my goals are to make it feel like home, make a lasing impact, and to create new relationships.

I know that they are going to be difficulties making this move. As I reflect on my 5 years in college, I would’ve done a lot of things differently like my money management, employment history, living situations, and people whom I surrounded myself with. Over the course of 5 years I always tended to live in furnished apartments or had roommates. So I never really had the full opportunity to make a true home for myself. I’m behind on housing items but live and learn right? I’m grateful that SD’s housing is very cheap and affordable. That will give me the chance to actually make my living space homey. Something I never really had.

Lastly I’m finally going to be making some consistent money. Another thing that is new so I’m definitely planning a budget to be smart with my money and I know how fragile I am when it comes to managing my money. During the job-hunting process I lost some motivation and wondered if I would ever land a job. I really got hit with the reality that finding a job as a recent grad is truly hard. I wish I tallied up the denials so I can use it as a reference later on in life. I applied and applied. It even got to a point where I was applying for jobs instead of finishing out college. I was so eager to get in the workforce and make some money. Never did I imagine ending up in South Dakota but I’m ready for this new chapter and taking this head on. I cannot wait to actually start work and to make a difference in a community that really needs it. I know to expect the unexpected, and I truly do hope that I make the most out of this and that I can make South Dakota a home away from home for me.