I was beyond excited when I saw the opportunity to participate in the #SAConnects series. Throughout my journey into student affairs I have met and built relationships with some of the most amazing people and I had a hard time picking just one individual to write about since I have learned lessons and had different experiences with all of them. When I think about my journey into SA three important people come to mind: my mentor, Erica, my current supervisor, Stacy, and my CSA buddy, Rochelle. All of these women have had tremendous influence on my journey into the SA world and have helped me in navigating through my first year as a graduate student.
My Mentor, Erica
Erica and I met in 2012. She began working at UAB and was my advisor for the Black Student Awareness Committee for two years. Many times I walked into her office frustrated and discouraged from school or other undergraduate life dilemmas. Never once did I leave her office without at least one piece of sound advice. As our relationship blossomed into a mentor-mentee relationship I felt more and more comfortable sharing my life experiences with her. Erica helped me process through my biggest crisis in undergrad, changing my major and consequently changing my future career plans. After many tears, prayers, and much thought I settled on obtaining a B.S. in Psychology and going on to pursue a Master’s degree in Higher Education/ Student Affairs. As I started my graduate school search, Erica was there to offer advice, edit and revise my resumes and personal statements, and prepare me for program and assistantship interviews. Little did we know that when she took her job at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg that I would find myself at the University of South Florida a year later. She continues to listen and help me navigate challenges and frustrations that arise as my graduate career unfolds.
My Supervisor, Stacy
To say that I was nervous, in good and bad ways, to start my assistantship in the Office of Multicultural Affairs would be an understatement. I walked into the office and was greeted with a hearty hello and a warm smile from Stacy which immediately put me at ease. I quickly learned that Stacy expected me to operate in the same manner of excellence that she did. Over the course of my first semester I found myself watching and studying Stacy’s mannerisms and persona and began thinking of ways that I could incorporate the little things she did into who I wanted to be as a professional and finding ways to make them my own. One of my favorite things about working with Stacy is that she is a nurturer and developer. She has taken the time to understand my strengths and weaknesses. She encourgaes me when I triumph and challenges me to critically evaluate and learn from my failures. In the 7 months that I have known her I have grown as a SA professional, graduate student, and young adult and I am looking forward to seeing my relationship grow into my second year of graduate school and beyond.
My CSA Buddy, Rochelle
I met Rochelle at USF’s open house in 2014. She served as the new member liason and was responsible for coordinating all aspects of the open house experience. After a long day of interviews Chelle and I went to eat dinner. While at dinner we discussed life and the challenges that come from being an out of state student. After I had received and accepted my assitantship, I received another email from Chelle talking about the CSA program’s buddy system. Second year students are paired with first year students in order to help them ease the transition. I was thrilled when I received the news that Chelle would be my buddy. Over the summer she made sure to check up on me and ease my nervousness about moving to Tampa. Throughout my first semester, Chelle was there to answer any questions I had, offer advice, or let me vent my frustrations to her. She has such a sweet spirit and has helped make Tampa feel more and more like home.
All of these women have played a significant role in my SA journey and I look to all of them for sound advice and encouragement. In life, I have always tried to surround myself with people who are where I want to be and these three women, all in different phases of their life, represent aspects of the woman and professional that I am hoping to become.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Becca Obergefell on Women in Student Affairs