Conference Recap!!

Another conference in the books! Today, I was grateful enough to attend MCPA’s Fall Conference. MCPA is the Maryland Chapter of the ACPA: College Student Educators International. I was able to attend through my amazing Residence Life & Housing department. Not only was I able to attend the conference, but four of my amazing mentors were able to present. Their presentations varied from examining privilege, having those uncomfortable conversations, utilizing technology to engage mass-student populations, and residential curriculum.

The Keynote Speaker was fantastic, and I am glad I was able to see him speak. Before I knew it, it was off the first session where I got the know-how on graduate school and the application process. The presenter, a Stevenson alum, definitely hit the mark! The second session was a great presentation about racial justice and decolonization, but specifically within the LGBTQ+ community. Not only was this insightful, but hearing other professional and graduate student experiences with advocacy and support of this population was great.

Next was lunch and a graduate fair. Yes, I checked out the schools! Right before the third sessions started, the Executive Board presented awards for professionals and graduate students! One of my amazing mentors, Bonnie, won an award for Outstanding Dedication to the Profession! She definitely deserved this award–and I am glad I got to see her accept it!

The third and fourth sessions were definitely worth the wait. The third session was a overview and discussion on the 2016 Report on Campus Climate and Sexual Violence at Maryland Colleges and Universities. This presentation was not only insightful, but exposed me to some of the data I might come into contact with further down in my graduate and professional career. The fourth session was all about Generation Z!

Generation Z is the generation of people born between 1995-2009. So yes, that means us traditional students in college are not actually Millennials (or Generation Y)! Being one of two Gen Z-ers in the room, it was great to be able to provide input but I loved hearing everyone else’s experiences especially when those sharing were of different generations themselves!

All in all, it was a great experience, and I am glad I was able to experience my second conference! Cannot wait to attend more, but tomorrow is Stevenson’s Homecoming so to sleep I go!

#SUisHome

 

Do It For You

Honestly, the graduate application has really taught me a lot about Higher Education and Student Affairs. First off, I learned that there are a lot of really talented people interested in helping students in a college population…like a lot!

Last year, I was blessed enough to be able to go the Mid-Atlantic College and University Housing Officers annual conference in Hershey, PA as a member of the Class of 2016 Lisa A. Pierce V.I.P.! What I learned from that amazing 3 day experience was that everyone has their own spark and fuel for doing what they are doing. Some do it because they did not receive that support, some do it because they did, and some people do it because someone took a risk on them and gave them everything they could have ever needed to excel in college!

Professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates alike interested in Higher Education all strive to be better people, practitioners, and contributors to their field. Why else would they be so invested in a population of students that in some ways does not even recognize the intentionality they are putting into their jobs?

If you had asked me four years ago if I was thinking of going into a career in Higher Education and Student Affairs, I would have responded with a crazed look and an answer just as baffled. Now, I know this is where I am meant to be. Writing personal statements where my thoughts are a tangible object on paper not only assist in me visualizing my goals, but it reaffirms that everything I am doing now will help me become a more adaptive graduate student and aspiring professional.

At the end of the day, making a choice for your future should be driven by you and your experiences. Make the best choice for you. Do it for you!

 

Where Am I Now?

Four years ago I was not in a good place. I had self-doubts higher than I could have ever imagined. Nothing made sense to me, but education was what I was used to so I rolled with it. I had no expectations for college. I am a first-generation college student. My parents kind of had an idea of what college was like on the inside, but never really understood the ramifications of my experience.

As I write this, I am uber-reflective of the past four years. I have gone through very rewarding and amazing ups, but have also endured downs that in the moment, made me re-evaluate everything.

Nothing and I truly mean nothing could have prepared me for the life that I am about to live. Graduate school happens a year from now, and I am here writing personal statements while simultaneously blogging to help get the creative (yet academic, intellectual, and scholarly) juices flowing. I know now that I want to be a professional within Higher Education and Student Affairs. How I got to this point? A series of intentional and progressive actions that I chose to find my passion.

I am beyond grateful for everyone and every experience I have had that reaffirmed my passion, made me angry about the field, and challenged me to fight the obstacles. Without them, I would not be able to confidently say this is where I want to be. This is where I am supposed to be.

This past summer I had the amazing experience to work with people who share that same passion. Call me crazy, but being around people who share the same goals, passion, and initiatives is absolutely terrifying at first. I loved my experience and would not change me going, but it also reiterated the fact that there are some things that need to change in Higher Education.

I am good where I am right now professionally. Personally, I am working on that too. Some day it will all fall into place, but until then I will be sure to enjoy the journey.

Chronicling it All

Higher Education is a constantly changing frontier that brings with it the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many resources exist to ensure that the history of our educational system is not covered by the red-tape, bologna sandwiches, and bureaucracy that exists among many institutions across the world. One of these resources is The Chronicle of Higher Education, and its impact on this ever-changing frontier is nothing short of profound.

The Chronicle boasts a wealth of information that can be changed and articles that make you rethink what you already know about the current system of higher education. One thing that I truly appreciate about it is the amount of information that is available about events and trends happening now.

For example, on the homepage alone, there were several stories about DACA and the responses from various institutions and how they relate to the overarching theme of student life. Many stories come with valuable perspectives from professors that have not only extensive research on the topic, but have a personal connection with the program.

In one article, “With DACA in Doubt, This Counselor to Latino Students Is Busier Than Ever”, writers explain the long-term effects of what DACA has on the campus communities, specifically those in a community where a large majority of the students are Latinx. These stories along with many others are filed under the “Students” tab, which says a lot. Higher Education is about the students, so it makes sense that these stories are affecting students.

Even beyond students, there are sections for faculty, administrators, and even a section called “The Ticker” that has breaking news from “all corners of academe”. Who would have thought that Higher Education would be so breaking news in nature?

One aspect of The Chronicle that is very sad yet important is a Title IX tracker. This has become an unfortunate reality in colleges and universities. We see certain cases make the national news, but many if not all never see the outside of the institution they arose from. Although the purpose of the tracker is to educate, it has its role in policy as well, allowing administrators to change their policies to address the needs of the school and to ensure that affected persons are treated with dignity and respect.

Overall, The Chronicle is a great resource to allow people in higher education to educate themselves, and to create a more successful environment for their students. Many resources like this exist, but this one goes the extra mile to ensure that people are heard. I just wish the price was a little more college-friendly!

Dreamers & All They Dream

As someone who goes to a fairly diverse school, it pains me to know that my peers, friends, and fellow students are afraid to live the lives they choose. Because of decisions made by the current administration, DACA which helped millions of people start a better life will be disbanded.

For many if not all, DACA was their last chance to get a better life. Based on choices they made, they had the courage and faith to drop everything in the situation that they were in and move to a country where they would to start over. Regardless of documentation status, the people who utilized DACA as a resource are people, and that is the basic premise of this–we need to help people.

As people who were born here or became citizens, we have privilege, and we must use it to help our fellow humans! I will never understand the experience of someone who came to this country to gain a better life. What I can do is understand their frustration, fear, and give them what they need and support them in this time of uncertainty.

Be educated on this topic. Know that in order to use DACA, you could not have a criminal record, or that Dreamers pay an estimated $11.4 billion in income taxes. Also, understand that Dreamers cannot utilize the social safety net our country has, and last but not least, Dreamers are just like any other person–beautiful, intelligent, and kind people just looking to make their lives the best as possible.

HMU In October

Well, here it is folks: My first week of my Senior Year is in the books!! What a great, crazy, challenging, and all over the place week it was. I started my internship, secured research opportunities, decided to apply to a regional conference, and all the while did not burn my building to the ground!! I would call that a successful week.

It is hard to believe I am a Senior, but it is so refreshing to be in this state-of-mind where I am future-oriented, but still am being present with what I have right in front of me! That being said, I have lots to do between now and the end of the semester. I am hoping to post more soon once my schedule becomes more routine!

Full Swing

Not even a week into the academic year, and I am already hitting the ground running. Between classes, Field Placement, Internship, and all the other experiences I have happening this year, I am truly blessed to be where I am surrounded by so many amazing people.

All of my classes so far have been amazing, and I have one of my favorite professors in three different classes, so you can say I am pretty pumped for this semester. It feels weird to even be talking about graduation and May, but it is a reality that I will eventually have to address.

In the meantime, catch me in the residence halls with my favorite people ever, or looking at journals of research on end. Not sure how consistent I will be with blogging, but I will try my best to post at least once a week. Senior year, here I come!