Things I’ve Learned at UW-Whitewater

Friday will bring to a close the 3 year adventure that has been graduate school at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. While I graduated a few weeks ago, I’ve been wrapping things up at my graduate assistantship at Career & Leadership Development (CLD). I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the things I’ve learned during my time at UWW.

1. You can never have too much purple in your life.

2. Not everyone plays nice in the sandbox and sometimes you just have to work with that (or throw a little sand of your own) (aka: speak up and stand up for yourself because no one else will).

3. Find the people who are genuinely interested in who you are as a person, as a professional, and where you want to go in life. When you find said person – make them your mentor!

4. If your graduate assistantship isn’t quite what you wanted or needed, don’t be afraid to have a chat with the boss. They just might be willing to change up some things for you. (Thanks Ron!)

5. You have to be able to deal with extraneous noise and still be able to get your work done. (oh the joys of having an office in the University Center (aka: the Union)) I will admit that I don’t always succeed at this.

6. Be willing to try new things. I starting blogging and tweeting because of my time at UWW and wanting to expand my horizons.

7. Trust the Process! This was essentially the mantra of my graduate program. We were all training to be counselors of some sort so you’d think we’d understand that everything is a “process.” Some days it was hard to “trust the process” when we couldn’t see what our outcomes would be. Trusting the process is what allows us to take leaps of faith (such as when I decided to move out to Oregon last summer based on some phone calls, emails, and online research…best leap of faith…ever!).

8. Take advantage of professional development opportunities whether local or not. I had the fortunate opportunity to attend WI-ACE twice, WCPA twice, and the ACPA National Conference this past March. Beyond attending the conferences, I started to get involved in the organizations. At WCPA, I was part of a group that won the Grad Student Case Study Competition last fall (we were given a scenario and then had to present and justify what we would do in that situation). At ACPA, I was selected to be an Ambassador (we had to apply and then they chose who they thought would best represent the future of the organization). I also have connected with other student affairs professionals and grad students through social media.

9. Every student affairs professional is NOT meant to work in every student affairs function area. I can safely say that I would not fair well in conduct or residence life. For conduct, I did that job and it just wasn’t for me. For residence life, I refuse to live where I work, bottom line. More power to the individuals who do these jobs!

10. Lunch time can be an awesome way to connect with co-workers about things other than work. I’ve loved having lunch with my co-workers in our conference room (or outside when it’s nice) and I think it’s one of the things I’ll miss most about working at CLD.

So, to my co-workers at Career & Leadership Development: thank you.

  • Thank you for teaching me what it means to be an outstanding student affairs professional.
  • Thank you for allowing me to take chances.
  • Thank you for teaching me about what you do in your roles and educating me further about the real world of student affairs.
  • Thank you for showing me that even when things don’t necessarily go our way that we should still do the best work we can.
  • Thank you for making me laugh with your crazy stories…or bad jokes. 🙂
  • Thank you for being a part of my graduate school adventure.
  • Thank you for letting me be a part of your own life adventures.
  • Thank you for 3 years of constant challenge and support! I won’t forget any of you for a very long time.  
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I’ve Graduated!

It’s official! I graduated with my Master’s degree this past Saturday. My official degree is a Masters of Science in Counseling with emphasis in Higher Education. Graduation day was nice (the festivities, not the weather). The day started with my parents and sister making the 4 hour drive down to Whitewater to be here in time for lunch. We headed over to campus for the luncheon that my department has on the day of graduation. It’s an opportunity to pay special recognition to each of the graduates in our department along with their family and friends. My department had about 30 graduates (give or take a few) this year. The part I enjoyed the most is that the faculty running each of the internship class sections took the time to say something about each individual in the class section. Ultimately, we’ve all done some awesome work while in the program and are bound for greatness in our respective professional careers. I am going to dearly miss some of the individuals I have met while in my program. Thankfully, I still have about a month that I’ll be in Whitewater and that I’ll have the opportunity to meet up with various people before moving.

The actual graduation ceremony on-campus was nice also. This was the first year that the graduate students had their own ceremony. I definitely thought it was the right move. We each got to have our moment in the spotlight (literally) while we were hooded. Only awkward parts: the counseling department was called up out of order, my hood was put on upside (I fixed it before taking pictures), and I had to endure an awkward hand shake/hug moment with my department chair. All in all, it was fun. Afterwards, once I found my family, we were able to take some pictures prior to the drizzle turning into full-on rain.

Counseling Grads + faculty

Me with my parents

Ashley & I at the dept lunch

Last Week of Grad School!

This week officially marks my last week of graduate school!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m incredibly excited if you can’t tell. 😉 What’s lovely is that all I have to do is work at my graduate assistantship, show up for internship class on Tuesday (at a local restaurant), and finally attend graduation festivities on Saturday. How relaxing and low-key of a final week is that? I’m loving it! Friday night I had a very exciting moment when I tried on my gown and master’s hood. Not going to lie, it took 3 of us to figure out how the hood was suppose to be. It’s just slightly complicated. Graduation on Saturday should be great. My parents and sister are coming down for the weekend…which includes a Counselor Ed department luncheon and then the actual graduation ceremony. UW-Whitewater had a smart idea this year and decided to split the graduates from the undergraduates and to have two ceremonies. Yay!

Once graduation is over with, my sister is staying with me for several days to help me start cleaning and packing up my apartment. Isn’t she awesome? After that, we’ll be embarking on a road trip! We’ll be traveling during the same week that I traveled out to Oregon last spring. 🙂 Julie and I are only planning to go as far west as the Black Hills and we’re SUPER excited about our adventure. It should be a fun one! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to blog about our trip as it’s happening. We’ll see what happens though. I know I’ll be seeing some of the same sights that Jenny and I did last year. However, I think they’ll be totally different because it’s a year later and I’ll be experiencing them with a different person. I think I’m most excited to revisit Badlands National Park. I don’t know exactly why…maybe because it was the first national park I visited.

Where have you visited that you most want to return to?

Top 10 of 2010

With it nearing the end of 2010, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect upon my top 10 experiences of this year.

10. Put in another good year at my graduate assistantship in the Career & Leadership Development office at UW-Whitewater. The past year at UWW has been pretty good. I’ve had several opportunities to work on various projects, attend conferences, and pursue new ideas for the office. I’ve been a co-author of our blog for about 1.5 years now and in August we started working on Facebook and Twitter accounts (all of which I manage). When I took on my internship at UW-Madison, I had the opportunity to shift my assistantship into a more project based position (which I love!). I’m working on some neat projects involving: social media, creating web content, job searching, green careers and others. I’m going to be sad to see this position end in May when I graduate.

9. Started my Blog (and other social media adventures)! When I started my blog, I wanted to have a space where I could reflect on my summer internship and traveling. I also wanted to have an easy way for family and friends to follow along on my journey. I then added reflecting upon my UW-Madison internship. While that reflection has been a little slower, I still appreciate the time I give myself to do such reflection. I love what my blog has turned into. It’s about my adventure into the Student Affairs profession, along with the other things I love in life. I don’t think it would be fair to have just all student affairs stuff because that isn’t the only thing I love in life. I hope that my blog and my blogging abilities continue to grow as I search for and settle into my first professional position. I also love that I jumped onto the Twitter bandwagon. There are so many cool people out there and it makes the world just a little bit smaller and more accessible. I look forward to some day meeting people in person that I know through online connections.

8. Favorite Book: Eat, Pray, Love. I enjoyed following someone’s journey as they find happiness in life.

7. Starting my Master’s program internship at UW-Madison in the Letters & Science Career Services office. So far, my internship has kept me busy. I’ve enjoyed finally getting to know the flagship university of the UW-System. I have had the opportunity to work with some great students this past semester. I’m looking forward to the next couple months of working with more students as they figure out what to do with their lives.

6. Spending time with family. In one word, my family is awesome! I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. They have been my number one supporters through this grad school journey and taking my internship out in Oregon.

5. Worked on improving my photography skills. Photography has been one of my hobbies that has grown this past year. I loved that I had opportunities to work on my photography skills. This is a hobby that I am looking forward to expanding once I’m done with school in May. Besides my photography tagged posts, my photography interwoven throughout the blog posts.

4. Hiking. Hiking is something I had only done a tiny bit prior to this past summer. My sister and I had done a hike in Devil’s Lake State Park in WI a few years ago, and that was about it for my hiking experience. While I was in Oregon, I had the opportunity to hike at a couple of state parks (Catherine Creek and Wallowa Lake). Once I was back in Wisconsin, I decided to explore the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest near Whitewater. My plan is to start hiking again as soon as Spring rolls around. Should be fun!

3. Traveling. While I have had the opportunity to travel before, it hasn’t be quite so extensive. I was truely bitten by the travel bug while I spent my summer in the Pacific Northwest. I now have an extensive list of places I want to visit (or re-vist) in the future including: several National Parks (Glacier in MT, Yosemite in CA, Crater Lake in OR, Mt. Rainier in WA, Acadia in ME, and several others), New England, and several spots in Wisconsin. My sister and I have already started tenative planning for a trip we want to take in May. We’ll be traveling through several of the Laura Ingalls Wilder historic sites (Pepin, WI; Walnut Grove, MN; and DeSmet, SD) on our way to the Badlands/Black Hills area of South Dakota. We’re both super excited about the trip and can’t wait to take it.

2. Roadtripping with my friend Jennifer from Milwaukee, WI, to the Pacific Ocean at the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.  These 8 days were amazing! Prior to this trip, all the further west I had traveled was central Minnesota. We past that point half way through day 1. Some of the highlights of the trip included: Sioux Falls, SD; Badlands National Park; Mount Rushmore; Wyoming in general had breathtaking scenery; Yellowstone National Park; Grand Teton National Park;  Forks, WA; Olympic National Park; and the world’s largest Spruce tree in the Olympic National Forest. Here are the blog posts that recapped our trip.

1. Living in Oregon for June and July and interning with the Student Affairs division at Eastern Oregon University. This experience was beyond amazing. In reality, the experience was life changing and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I learned that I can survive and start a new life in a place where I don’t know anyone. I also learned quite a bit about student affairs and how different it can look at a smaller school. This was one my best summers so far. I had the opportunity to travel, to make new friends, to experience new things, and to enjoy a relaxed version of life. The summer spent in Oregon recharged me and prepared me for my final year of graduate school. While I don’t know quite yet if I’d want to live out west, I will definitely be visiting again (and hopefully soon!). Check out my weekly recaps of my time at Eastern Oregon University.

Now that I’ve figured out the awesome events of my life for 2010, I need to nail down my resolutions and goals for 2011. Happy New Year to everyone! I hope that 2011 is even better than 2010!!

My Family Weekend!

I just had a wonderful, amazing weekend with my mom and sister! My dad elected to stay home, realizing that it was a girl’s weekend. They arrived on Saturday around lunch time and we headed right the UW-Whitewater Homecoming football game. The game was fun with over 11,000 people in the stands and the Warhawks maintaining their winning streak. As of right now, the Warhawks have the longest running winning streak in all of college football. 23 games! Pretty cool for a Division 3 school!

Julie and myself at the UWW Homecoming game!

On Sunday, I took my mom and sister to the UW-Madison campus for a little walking tour. I had wanted to show them where I was interning on-campus. Plus, my sister is applying for Library Science grad program at UW-Madison and we used our walking tour as her campus tour. We had a beautiful, crisp fall day for our tour. The rest of my pictures are from Madison. Some of them I was trying to work on my photography and others I just thought turned out cool or captured a neat moment.

Steps leading up to the building I work in (which is directly to the right of the tree).

Looking down Bascom Hill towards the WI State Capitol building.

Looking up at Abe!

Julie with Abe in front of Bascom Hall (where all of UW-Madison began).

Flowers on the Memorial Union Terrace with Lake Mendota in the background.

Tables stacked up for the winter on the Terrace.

Julie in her element at the State Historical Society (her undergrad is in History and her grad emphasis within Library Science will be archival).

Camp Randall Stadium

I had to say good-bye to them this morning before I went to work. Their visit will sustain me until I’m able to go home for Thanksgiving. Thanks Mom and Julie for the great weekend!

Music to Work To

I cannot believe it’s been over a week since I wrote a post. Actually, I can believe it. This past week was the first week with my full schedule for the fall semester. I won’t lie, it was kind of brutal. Luckily, this coming week will be a bit lighter due to our internship class section being cancelled for Tuesday evening. I’m hoping to see the Glee premiere that night!

While I making my way through the week, I was continually reminded how integral music is to my daily existence. While I drive to Madison, I listen to upbeat music. This week’s main theme was music from Glee. When I’m in my office at Whitewater, Pandora is frequently on in the background unless I’m meeting one-on-one with a student or co-worker. For those who are unfamiliar with Pandora, it is an internet music service that allows you to create radio stations based off of songs, artists, or genres. It takes an artist (for example I have a U2 station) and creates a station of music including and similar to that particular artist. I have a high tendency to play music at my Whitewater office to try to drown out the noise going on outside my office. My office is located in the Warhawk Involvement Center in our University Center, and it’s a popular space for students to gather and hangout with friends that are in different student organizations. The Warhawk Involvement Center also houses several student organization offices, student government, my office, the community service office, and a number of resource centers. It’s a busy place and music helps me to focus on my work.

Back to Pandora. While in my office, my Pandora is usually set on a custom mix of a couple of stations. Over the past couple of weeks, that mix has been: Florence and the Machine, Ingrid Michaelson, and Snow Patrol (the last two stations also have heavy influences of Jack Johnson and Coldplay). Other stations are included depending on my mood: Kate Havnevik, Glee, U2, or Lady Gaga. I have found that I like calm mixed with some upbeatness.

Just a side note. I’ve been listening to Florence and the Machine since early this summer when her music was featured on So You Think You Can Dance. I’m not a band wagon jumper oner who just discovered her last week during the VMAs on MTV. Just wanted to clarify that. 🙂

What music drives your daily work?

New Internship, New School Year

The new school year has officially begun. Classes started yesterday at UW-Whitewater and it was awesome to have the familiar hum of activity return to the University Center where my office is located. I’m sure most other student affairs professionals would agree that the beginning of the year is a fantastic time. My reasons: there’s a brand new group of students on campus and everyone is so full of potential.

This week, I also started my internship position at UW-Madison in the College of Letters & Science Career Services office. All I have done so far is training and I’m already super excited about the coming year. I hope to really further develop my career counseling skills. I love a good challenge. I definitely know that I’m going into the right field because after I completed the start of a mock appointment with a freaking out PhD German Musicology student, I said it was fun! The challenge with this internship position is just getting to and from the campus itself. What I have figured out so far involves an hour drive, some walking, and a bus ride into campus. I guess I’ll find out if I like commuting this year. That will be a great thing to know going into my job search later this year.

What is your favorite part of the start of the new school year?