As I reflect on my summer as an ACUHO-I intern at the University of San Francisco I can remember vividly, the questioning of all that had to do with this experience/opportunity. I remember asking myself if I will be good enough, numerous times prior to packing my car and venturing west towards the city of San Francisco. This cycle continued even when I arrived on campus until the very last day of my tenure, but then, and only then, did I understand the purpose of this opportunity and field experience.
On my first day at the University of San Francisco my direct supervisor and I, mapped out an Action Plan and a Statement of Goals that I would use to direct me while at the University. These goals consisted of projects, meetings, reading, research, interviews and applications; each of which I was baffled on how I would complete in the two months that I would be in San Francisco. Nevertheless, each task provided the opportunity to establish an understanding of a Jesuit Institution, the office of residence life and their position within the Jesuit values and my place in this internship.
Initially, I looked at this internship as a means to spice up my resume and make myself more marketable in the field of student affairs, but within my time at the University of San Francisco that all changed. I began to understand the administrative aspect of the job and my soon to acquire degree, and how to make myself a better professional. This aspect was created through my established 40-hour weeks and continual use of the designated space located in the office of residence life. In addition to that I began to understand other aspects of time management, how to share my vision within the department and how to add a creative spin to make others recognize the department and my work. The task of adding a creative spin to the manual revision work was actually one of the more difficult ones, because the job of updating and revising usually does not include an incredible degree of creativity, unlike newsletters and other forms of publication. Nonetheless, these tasks required more than just cut and paste applications, they required me to get out of my graduate residence director stance and delve into the other aspect of the student affairs profession; administration.
This experience was one that I would never regret and would highly recommend. It allows an individual to get out of their comfort zone and challenges them to make that new area conducive for growth and development. As I reflect on the purpose of a field experience, I now understand that it is to provide the opportunity to give an institution to the individual and the individual to the institution. Meaning, I believe I am now apart of the department of residence life at the University of San Francisco and they will forever be apart of me. During my final conversation with my direct supervisor the last understanding of this experience came into play. I realized that for approximately a year I have sized myself up to each professional and/or past/ present cohort to see how I may make myself better at my job. Yet the truth of the matter is, I never needed to compete with my coworkers at the University of San Francisco or my cohort at the University of the Pacific, for all I had to do is encompass all the talents that have been shared in our day-to-day interaction and then challenge myself to improve.
More information is available on ACUHO-I Intern Experiences at http://blog.acuho-i.org/category/acuho-i-housing-internships/.
Submitted by Kyle Boone, Graduate Student, University of the Pacific