In Student Affairs, I feel as if we are always taught to expand and push ourselves to grow as professionals. There are so many different work styles, personalities, and strengths within one department and to be successful we need to adapt our style with others. For me, when it comes to work my personality and style requires and uses more structure. You can see come out when I am given a project or task to work on. As for others I have worked with they just require the basics and can go on with little to more structure or direction.
For my personal development, I wanted to use my work in my ACUHO-i internship this summer to be more flexible and work with less structure. My task, along with another intern, was to plan a leadership conference for new incoming students. While I finish up my last few weeks, I have found that I can indeed work with less structure. At the same time I learned that it is important to speak up for your needs and for me that meant getting the structure when I needed it.
Planning this conference has given myself and my fellow intern a lot of freedom to make this conference the best it can be (and in our minds better than years before, but we are biased). As the days and weeks went on and it got closer to my final 2 weeks here, we found it more and more frustrating to have little to go off of. We had very minimal information from last years conference and found ourselves a little stuck in the planning. We pushed on and kept making progress despite any road blocks we hit. That was until I couldn’t take it anymore and my anxiety about the lack of structure got to me.
After have multiple conversations with my fellow intern, I found that I needed to speak to my supervisor and relay the feelings I was having. I was nervous at first to explain that I had felt a little lost and frustrated by the lack of information and sense of structure in our planning (I took ownership of my feelings and did not want to put my words to express my fellow interns feelings). After only a few short minutes, I saw that my supervisor was on my side and very understanding of my feelings. It was through this conversation I realized that no matter how hard I may push myself to expand it is OK to speak up for my needs.
For personal development it is important to make sure our needs are being met while still trying to expand ourselves. I believe that if I had let my feelings go on without speaking up, I would have become so anxious I could not have enjoyed these last few weeks of my internship. That in turn would have created a negative developmental experience and had defeated the purpose of taking this internship.
I hope that through this experience I can express the need as Student Affairs professionals to blend development with need. We must make sure that needs are met and to speak up when we need to address our needs. Even when we are trying to better ourselves through personal or professional development.
Til next time ❤
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