SEAHO Report - Spring 2019 - 20

SEAHO Feature Articles

Maximizing Your Summer Graduate Experience
Ashley C. Owens, University of North Carolina Greensboro
As we are approaching the closing of the spring semester. It is important that we dedicate time and focus on our
Graduate Assistants/ Paraprofessionals in our departments. For all the second year graduate assistants, you are
most likely knee deep in the job search season. Good for you! All of us are here supporting you and cheering
on the sidelines as you transition into becoming our colleagues. However, in this article, I want to focus my
attention on the first year graduate assistant! Congratulations to all of you for completing your first year! This is
a huge accomplishment and you should be very proud of yourself. Majority of you are preparing to begin a new
adventure this summer as you transition into internships. It is my hope that this article provides you tips and
guidance on how to maximize your summer Graduate Assistant experience!
Take Time to Reflect
A West African proverb that I strive to live by is based off of the term "Sankofa". Essentially, this proverb
illuminates the idea of looking back over one's experiences to move forward. Therefore, before you shift
into this new experience, it will be important for you to go back and look over your first year as a Graduate
Assistance and take an inventory of all the experiences, skills, and wisdom that you have collected. Before any
transition, this is a good habit to get into. You have spent a year in one environment, and you are getting ready
to enter into a brand new one, just to turn around and return to the first environment once again. Through all of
these transitions, time will feel like it is moving at the speed of light. Therefore, taking a moment to reflect by
taking a look at the lessons you've learned to help you understand the lessons you'd like to learn in this field
will serve to be substantial knowledge that will assist you as you think intentionally about your summer.
What do you have? What do you need? What do you want?
When I was a Graduate Assistant, after I reflected on my year, I began to ask myself three questions that
initiated a process of self-assessment. I task you with asking yourselves the following questions to develop a
deeper understanding of what you would like to get out of your summer experience.
1) What do you have? Let's take an inventory of all the skills you have gained and feel confident with.
I would take a list of competencies (NASPA/ACPA) and cross off the ones that you feel comfortable
enough in that you'd be able to teach the skill to someone else. Keep in mind however, the best
teachers are always a student!
2) What do you need? Now with that same list of competencies, compare this with your current, up to
date, resume. What skills are absent from your toolbox? Write these down and think about the reasons
you may need these skills. As you continue into your summer experience and even into your last year
as a Graduate Assistant, it is important to always take ownership of your professional development.
This list of skills partnered with your passion areas and desired path in student affairs should tailor
how you approach and calculate your professional development plans.
3) Lastly, What do you want? It is important to understand that you DO NOT have to know the answer
to this question long term. It is completely okay to not know exactly what you want. Have grace with
yourself! Not one Graduate Assistant has it all figured out! The experiences you gain as a Graduate
Assistant all come together collectively, to help you decide what you want out of your professional
career as a Student Affairs Professional. Therefore, I simply challenge you to ask yourself this
question. Do so, to initiate reflection of what you would like to know, understand, feel, and experience
by the time you leave your summer internship. Hopefully, by doing so you will have a better idea of
what it is you want upon your return to your home institution as well.
SEAHO Report Spring 2019

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SEAHO Report - Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SEAHO Report - Spring 2019

Contents
SEAHO Report - Spring 2019 - Cover1
SEAHO Report - Spring 2019 - Contents
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