It turns out summer has come and gone.
At the beginning of the summer, I had every intention of writing down a recap of my third year at my Beautiful California University.
Obviously, this did not happen. Yet.
Today the RA’s at my university are moving in.
A year ago, this was me. I was moving in. I was excited, nervous, confident, scared. The mixture of emotions was calm turmoil inside of me. Helped by my best friends, I carried my stuff up the two flights of stairs. We moved some furniture around briefly and left the boxes in my room so we could head to the movies (after epic shopping trips at Costco, Target and Safeway) before my actual training started.
RA training was one of the most amazing experiences ever. Tons of ice-breakers, team-builders, and similar games. Deep discussion. The fear of practicing for situations that might happen on-call.
First semester was a challenge. Balancing 16 units and being a first semester RA, trying to do everything I could for my students. I metaphorically fell down a LOT. Added to this was the challenge of a relationship that was not working out exactly the way I thought it would, and my emotional attachment to it. I hit one of my lowest slumps ever, but thanks to the amazing staff I worked with (not just one staff, but two, because I worked in the Freshman Interest Group living area) I managed to begin to understand where I was and the value of the work I was doing.
Winter break was highly un-notable, asides from a class and watching all of Stargate: Atlantis.
Second semester of my third year goes down as a highlight of one of the most amazing parts of the timeline in my life. Yes, I still made mistakes. Yes, things did not go according to plan. But I had a lot of wake-up calls.
Second semester my course load was relatively easy. I took an AMAZING class on medieval monsters in literature, a class on screenplays, and a psychology clas for GE credit. In addition, I was the Teaching Assistant for our Foundations of Leadership course.
TAing for Foundations of Leadership was an incredible experience. I found that I love working in the classroom. After a week or two of (proverbially) finding my legs, I felt perfectly at home. I feel like it brought me full circle. I learned the material my freshman year, was able to do work and put it into practice my sophomore and junior year, and finally at the end of my junior year I was able to teach it. I was able to see the value in the lessons I had learned in years past. I was able to use the experiences I have had over the past three years and really apply it or use it to demonstrate to my students what they will be dealing with.
I think this is one of the most pivotal experiences I have had since being in college. This is when I began to understand the weight of the positions I have held. When I began to understand what my role as student leader is.
This was coupled with challenges I faced as a CSA – connecting with my residents in the second semester, being a valid resource for them, and holding them accountable to policy.
I am so proud that I got to work with a fantastic staff – they really helped me keep my life together, even at times when I do not think they were aware of that.
I am glad I got to advise the Village Council for my living area, because I got to work with some fantastic, well-motivated students.
I am thankful that I had such fantastic supervisors. They really made a difference in my life. They both pushed me to achieve higher than I thought I could. They were patient with me when I made mistakes, but also firm. Through both of them, I learned why I love doing what I do, and I learned that just because one does not see the difference they make does not mean that one is not making a difference. Among other things.
I’m grateful for the wonderful teachers I have had. Teachers that let me be the unique student I am. Teachers that let me be a bit of a loud-mouth in class, and kid around. Teachers who are patient with my student jokes and not-so-witty comments. Teachers who let me compare old British Literature to events in Star Trek. Teachers who have taught me so much about English Literature and how it is relevant to life.
I’m eternally grateful my friends. The people that I knew going into the year, the students I met at orientation, and those who either lived in my community or were a class that let me get close to them. This covers such a wide gamut, since I met so many people this past year. I seriously do not know how I am going to make time to get to know each of you better, because you are all so amazing. Plan on a NUMBER of group outings. : )
Finally, I am so very proud of my Beautiful California University. Without my being here, I would not be blessed with any of the above. I love being a student here so much. As excited as I am to be done with my undergraduate work, I am sad to be leaving. There are so many amazing people here, so many awesome classes I wish I could take, so many cool jobs and opportunities.
I look forward to another amazing, spectacular, fun, energetic, calm, joyful year.