As a student affairs and higher education graduate student, I really did not know what to expect for my summer after I finished my first year of graduate school. I knew that I planned to be doing an ACUHO-I internship as an Assistant Resident Director at University of California, Berkeley, but I did not know that it would be this impactful. I knew that I was going to grow professionally, but I learned a lot about myself outside of the workspace as well. Coming from the Midwest and Indiana, I knew that San Francisco and California would be different. I do not know a lot of people out here and I was ready to get out of my comfort zone. Luckily I was not alone throughout this journey. I had two other colleagues who were ARDs and various other interns who were developing an opportunity to grow and learn.
Here’s how I made the most of this amazing experience:
Throughout my internship experience, I had a timeline of things that I would like to achieve throughout my ACUHO-I internship. I am very interested in social justice topics so I did a lot of research and presented with another graduate student on social justice as a round table session for the Bay Area Intern Conference at UC Berkeley. It was such an amazing opportunity to express our concerns about #BlackLivesMatter, marriage equality, and otherness in the workplace. To see so many graduate students concerned about the current topics in our society and have meaningful conversations was more than amazing.
Learn From Your Colleagues and Peers
Being in such a great area with so many different colleagues who are from a variety of diverse places and backgrounds was amazing. I learned so much from the people that I was working with. In addition to learning more about my colleagues, I learned even more about myself. What works best for me? How do I show up in spaces? And more importantly, do the students that I work with feel like I am helping them grow as a student and young professional?
Being In A New Location Is Challenging
Coming from the Midwest to the West Coast was a culture shock. Things are very different in California than Indiana. I had to learn how to adapt and adjust. I think it is very important for me as a young professional starting to job search in my second year of graduate school to learn how to adjust to change and find a support system throughout this time.
Make the Most of Your Opportunity- Use Your summer to Grow
Come in with the willingness to learn. I have gained so much from just being in the room and learning from amazing Student Affairs professionals and leaders. I know coming back to my home institution at Indiana State University, I can bring back a lot new knowledge that I have learned over the summer and implement this in my current role as a graduate student. I suggest any first year Student Affair’s graduate student to apply for NODA and ACUHO-I