Week 4: Just the Beginning

The week started yesterday, and it’s hard to believe that the halfway point of my second-to-last term is a calendar flip away. Several good things have happened in the past few days, so I suppose it’s time to share.

For starters, I am happy to report that I have a good lead on a project for a community college. I spent the last two months looking for advising opportunities with community colleges (really, anything with the community colleges), and I was unfortunately unable to solidify anything with Portland Community College. (However, I do have to give a shout-out to my contact, Brenda, up at PCC-Rock Creek because she was great and helping me try and coordinate something. It just didn’t work for this term.) After my potential PCC venture didn’t work out, I emailed one of my professors from last term. He works at Linn-Benton Community College, a nearby institution that with which OSU has a degree partnership. He told me he would mull it over, and about a week later, I had a voicemail stating that a colleague of his needed assistance with advising.

Specifically, his colleague needed help advising high school students taking classes at LBCC. In other words (or in Washington state lingo), I would be helping out with Running Start students–students that are participating in a program similar to the one in which I participated during my senior year of high school. I am planning to meet with LBCC on Friday to talk about details. If it works out, this will be a great opportunity to apply my knowledge of community college environments, as well as learning styles and communication.

Additionally, there might be a research opportunity coming up somewhere else, but until I have more details about that, I won’t discuss it further.

In terms of professional development, the Oregon Women in Higher Education conference happened this past Friday. I attended last year, and that was my first student affairs conference. During one of this year’s sessions, I noted how much more comfortable I was in the environment, and how that meant I was able to engage and participate more in the sessions.

The first session, led by another former professor–Dr. Jessica White–and her colleague, relied on story-telling to share lessons from motherhood and the workplace. For one, it demonstrated that professional, intelligent, working mothers are real people; they have their share of impatience and frustration. Raising children is not a fantasy life. However, even with frustrations, both of these women are able to take the lessons they learn from interacting with their children and families and apply them to the workplace. Doing so means they are able to make more impact, work more effectively, and weave the contrasting fabrics of life together.

Other sessions I chose to attend centered around themes of making career moves, probably because I am in the midst of job searching. I got quite a bit of good advice, including how to expand the search to include other venues, like nonprofit organizations. It made me feel more at ease, knowing that my interest in helping people through transitions does not have to be constrained only to higher education for my work to have impact. This is an aspect I want others in my cohort to be aware of, too, as with the reality of the job market, we may encounter hurdles in finding employment. So far, in researching Portland-area nonprofits, I have found that there is a common mission of improving communities. There are so many different ways to enrich the lives of others, and now I feel that I can share this with my students, too.

After returning from the conference, I balanced everything out by attending a friend’s Friday night taco night. It was a good shift, as I spent the rest of the night socializing with other students, most of whom are graduate students in different fields. After spending most of the day immersed in higher education, it was a nice way to wind down. The tacos were also pretty tasty, I must say.

I spent the rest of the weekend catching up on reading and homework, as well as applying for jobs in both the Portland and Los Angeles areas. It’s too early to tell how things will pan out, but I am staying hopeful.

Until next time…

 

 

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