When I look back on this past year, being an AmeriCorps*VISTA taught me the importance of planning, seeking resources, and taking risks. Fresh from my own graduation, I wasn’t too sure how to start making Career Development opportunities and had many ideas for what I envisioned. Time was passing me by quickly as I focused on training and student meetings.
Where did you go to school? Brown University ‘13
What are your personal and professional interests? As a first generation college graduate, I’m personally interested in the first generation student experience, particularly around success strategies. How can we support first generation students in not only attend college, but also graduating? After VISTA, I hope to continue serving more underrepresented students and continue my own education in graduate school.
If you could have any super power, what would it be? Tough call—either teleportation to save on transportation costs or invisibility to sneakily save on transportation costs
Tell us your Story of Service:
It’s been a reflective time for me at College Visions, where I am serving year as a College Advisor/Alumni Engagement Coordinator. This past week, I checked in with my now-first year students at the University of Rhode Island. We reminisced about how much change can result from a year.
Last summer, I began meeting with 19 high school seniors, working side by side weekly to apply to college. After months of essay editing, campus visits, workshops, and financial aid forms, all of my advisees successful matriculated to either a four-year college or community college. Here at CV, we aim to not only work with first generation students to matriculate into college, but also to graduate from college, so I check in with 40+ college advisees as well. I’m thankful to have built these advisee relationships – to be able to hear their stories, and plan goals to ensure that they continue reaching their full potential.
Apart from advising, the other main aspect of my service has been building Career Development and Alumni Engagement initiatives. Because CV’s formalized College Success Program is relatively new, I have been able to provide ideas and attention in helping our college students prepare for life after college. My role has included researching career development opportunities and partners, building workshop curriculum, and coordinating college student-specific events. In August, for example, I was able to recruit alumni for our first ever Career Panel as part of our annual College Student Kick-off. Despite the event being held on what felt like the rainiest day of the summer, we had a great turnout from students at different levels of their college journeys exchanging advice and stories about picking their major and applying to jobs.
When I look back on this past year, being an AmeriCorps VISTA taught me the importance of planning, seeking resources, and taking risks. Fresh from my own graduation, I wasn’t too sure how to start making Career Development opportunities and had many ideas for what I envisioned. Time was passing me by quickly as I focused on training and student meetings. Developing a work-plan helped me fine-tune my ideas and set a timeline for fulfilling my tasks. My time spent building relationships with students became a way for me to seek resources for developing programming that they wanted. Tapping into CV’s network of partner organizations and supporters also helped me gain insight into best practices and ease the self-doubt I initially had towards successfully fulfilling my VAD description. Ultimately, I had to learn that building new initiatives inherently involves taking risks. Risk itself implies the chance that things might not work out the way I expected, but actively trying something out meant growth in learning. Essentially, risk meant change. From new career building workshops and meeting new advisees to hearing former ones talk about their new college experiences, I actively welcome change. Best of luck to fellow VISTAs!