When I first saw the opportunity to write about meaningful connections within Student Affairs I immediately became excited. I pride myself on building and maintaining relationships with individuals in the field. We all have valuable information that can be useful to someone else and when we don’t know something, then we know someone who does. #SAgrad, #SAchat and #SLchat have positively impacted my Student Affairs network and I will forever be grateful for that.
It is SO hard for me to pinpoint one connection/friendship I have made because there are just too many for me to count. Everyone I’ve come across has made some type of impact on my life. I’m fortunate that I have met such amazing people that accept me and challenge me to be a better version of me. I felt the easiest way for me to go about this post was to explain each piece of my puzzle that led me to the great people I have come across.
My undergraduate experience at SUNY College at Old Westbury. This is where it all began. I became a Resident Assistant and SGA Senator at the start of my Junior year and the rest is history. Professionals and students a year above me who planned to go into the field sucked me in (and I regret nothing). After discovering I wanted to pursue a career in Student Affairs the next piece of my puzzle was added.
NUFP- NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program. I applied to this program at the end of my Junior year and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. It provided me with opportunities to go to regional and national conferences, an awesome mentor who I still am very close with, connections with undergraduates going through the same thing as me, background knowledge to this crazy field I just decided to enter and resources to apply to graduate school. I also was selected as one of thirty-two fellows to attend the Dungy Leadership Institute 2013 at Iowa State University, which is the next piece of my puzzle.
Dungy Leadership Institute (DLI) 2013. Honestly, words can’t even explain this experience. My first thoughts when being selected were, “What is even in Iowa?!” Little did I know, 5 days I never would forget were going to be in Iowa. Shout out to my Trendsetterz!! The best group EVER at DLI (this is not up for dispute). During this week we laughed, we cried, we didn’t sleep, we almost fell out of the lofted beds, but most importantly we made irreplaceable memories and bonded. The faculty group was amazing in challenging us to be vulnerable and accepting of each other.
Texas A&M University, Commerce. A week after graduating I was on a plane headed to my ACUHO-I internship in Texas. A place I never saw myself going to, but here I was. I’m thankful for the other interns, students and professionals I’ve met to make my experience memorable. I keep in close contact with a few of the interns who I am glad to now call my friends. As we always like to say, #ThankGodForCommerce.
Pace University, NYC. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is the only word I could think of to rightfully describe my ACUHO-I experience at Pace. I loved living in the city, I loved the people I was around, I loved the opportunities I had, I loved everything. I believe it was the best place for me to be not only to develop myself professionally but to prepare me for my second year of graduate school. Even a year later I can still clearly remember my interview and how well I thought it went. I believe I worked very hard while I was here but also was encouraged to play just as hard. Although I’ve lived in NY all my life, I was able to experience NY in a very different way.
Hofstra University. Two years have quickly flown by. This isn’t the experience I thought I’d have, but I’m glad I had it. I’ve learned it is okay to be different and everyone is not meant to fit everywhere.
Graduate Associate Program/Region II Graduate Student Board. These are other opportunities I’ve had through NASPA. This group of graduate students has supported me more than they know. They remind me that we’re all in this together. Every day is not meant to be easy, but we will get through it.
My future. As I embark on my job search journey, who knows where I’ll end up or who I’ll meet. What I can be sure of is that I don’t doubt it’ll be anything short of amazing.
To close this out, a big thank you goes out to the people I’ve met during these moments. A thank you for all you’ve done in the past, anything you’re doing now and anything you will do for me in the future. Thank you for providing me with opportunities, thank you for listening when I thought no one cared, and especially thank you for being you.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Paul Pyrz on Leadership Programs