I feel as if we are always taught to expand and push ourselves to grow as professionals in student affairs. There are so many different work styles, personalities, and strengths within one department and to be successful we need to adapt our style with others. For me, when it comes to work, my personality and style requires and uses more structure. You can see this when I am given a project or task to work on. As for others I have worked with, they just require the basics and can go on with little to more structure or direction.
I wanted to use my work in my ACUHO-i internship this summer to work on becoming more like those who are opposite of me. My task, along with another intern, was to plan a leadership conference for new incoming students. While I finish up my last few weeks in this program, I have found that I can indeed work with less structure. At the same time, I have learned that it is important to speak up for your needs and for me that meant getting the structure when I needed it.
My fellow intern and myself had a lot of freedom when planning this conference to make this project the best it could be. We found it more and more frustrating to have little to work with as it got closer to my final two weeks here. We had very minimal information from last year’s conference and at times found ourselves a little stuck in the planning. We pushed on and kept making progress despite any road blocks we hit. That was until I couldn’t take it anymore and my anxiety about the lack of structure and guidance in our planning process got to me.
After have multiple conversations with my fellow intern, I found that I needed to speak to my supervisor and relay the feelings I was having. I was nervous at first to explain that I had felt a little lost and frustrated by the lack of information and sense of structure in our planning. After only a few short minutes, I saw that my supervisor was on my side and very understanding of my feelings. This conversation made me realize that no matter how hard I may push myself to expand, it’s okay to speak up for my needs.
For personal development, it is important to make sure our needs are being met while still trying to expand our development. If I had let my feelings go on without speaking up, I would have become so anxious I wouldn’t have enjoyed these last few weeks of my internship. That in turn would have created a negative developmental experience and defeated the purpose of taking this internship in the first place.
I hope that through this experience I can express the importance as Student Affairs professionals to blend development with need. We must make sure that needs are met and speak up when we feel they are not. Even when we are trying to better ourselves through personal or professional development, we should be conscious of what our minds are telling us.