When I first started my ACUHO-I experience last year, I had no clue what I was doing. I knew that people interested in Higher Education did them, most internships were for graduate students, and that it was a great networking and professional development opportunity.
Two years later after doing two internships, I have to say that it was one of the best choices in my life to jump and take the risk of venturing off to Cambridge, MA to go to Harvard as a Pre-College Proctor. Similar to a RA, the Proctor handles crisis response, programming, but also serves as a mentor and transitional guide to assist gifted high school students in navigating the college choice process.
People ask me now, “Why did you not go back?” Well the truth is that I was offered a position to go back but because of my commitment to my graduate program, the dates did not work out. With me currently in Nashville, people ask me, “Which one do you like better?” It is really hard to answer that question because the two internships were completely different. With my experience at Harvard, I was able to utilize and hone my already existing skills to make me a better student leader at my undergraduate institution. I was able to come back saying “no this works better because A, B, and C.”
With my experience at Belmont, it is setting me up for my transition into graduate school. Now, I am not saying that those at Harvard the summer in-between are not benefitting from the experience, but for me personally Belmont was what I needed. My undergraduate population was about 4,000 people total. Belmont’s is around 8,000. UMass Amherst’s is about 20,000. Belmont is serving as a in-between for my small school past and big school future. Harvard’s undergraduate enrollment is about 6,500 but you would never know it because its campus encompasses so much of the city of Cambridge.
The point is that both Harvard and Belmont gave/are giving me experiences that I would have never expected them to provide. I wish Harvard nothing but success and a successful Pre-College Summer. They have some great returning Proctors and an amazing Assistant Director who will help you and get you to where you need to be, even if you think you did not need to be there.
I learned from both experiences to keep my eyes open and enjoy the adventure. I am fairly certain that is something that they do not teach you in the History of Higher Education class in graduate school.