And Semester 1 is Done!

Well, it’s almost done. We have classes this week and then finals before winter break officially starts. One thing I didn’t expect from this first semester at UMD was for my blog to take a back seat. I figured I’d have more time to commit, not less. I definitely worked on post ideas. It was my execution skills that were lacking. I want to change that. I have some exciting things in the works for my 2nd semester at UMD, all of which I cannot wait to share with you!

On the 20th of this month, I’ll be hitting my 6 month mark at work at UMD. Yay! As I shared with family and friends in my Christmas letter, I knew UMD was the right place for me even before I was offered the job. That first night when I walked around campus before my interview, I just felt at home. Honestly, I still feel that way. I couldn’t have asked for a better reception.

My semester has been filled with a lot of presentations and individual appointments. I completed over 40 presentations this semester (some alone and some with another presenter). The majority of these presentations were for the freshman UMD seminar class, along with presentations about interviewing, using social media in your job search, and interning abroad. I even got to present to a few student organizations on various topics. In the UMD Seminar presentation, I talked about Career Services, choosing a major and/or career, and a short interest assessment with more information for the students about interests. My favorite part of these presentations was working with our intern who is a graduating senior from the psychology department. It was fun to watch her become more comfortable with the presentation content and to really settle into her own career choices. She came into our office wanting to pursue either K-12 counseling or Career/Higher Education counseling. It was exciting to see how sure she became with her choice to pursue higher education as the semester continued. Next semester will bring us another intern and another adventure of self-discovery.

This semester I had the opportunity to travel in Minnesota for various reasons. I was able to attend the MCPA conference in October down in the Twin Cities. MCPA is the Minnesota College Personnel Association and is a state chapter of the larger national organization of ACPA. It was nice to start to get to know other people from throughout the state of Minnesota. The only thing I really didn’t like about the conference was being the only person from my institution to attend. It was hard to be introduced to new ideas and not be able to debrief with someone who could understand how the ideas could be implemented on our campus. The fun part was staying with a friend of mine instead of at a hotel. The week after I was at MCPA, I returned to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St.Paul for anyone not familiar with the Midwest) for training on the StrengthsQuest assessment. This training was awesome! It was an intensive day, and I learned so much. The philosophy behind StrengthsQuest is to find out what we are naturally good at and then work on those areas to elevate them from natural talents to bonafide strengths. Basically, instead of trying to elevate our weaknesses to mediocre, we work to excel at what we naturally are good at. My strengths are: Input (collecting things, ideas, etc.), Learner (thirst for knowledge), Positivity (glass super full type of person), Developer (encourage what we see in others), and WOO (people person). All of my strengths help me to understand how I can best serve my students and their needs.

Now that semester 1 at UMD is just about wrapped up, I’m excited to see what semester 2 will bring!

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