Making Connections

What I have enjoyed the most about my Summer@Brown internship experience is being able to make connections, not just with many of the professionals that are currently in the field but also with current graduate students and others like me that are preparing to embark on their student affairs journey.

For the past few weeks, I have been studying for the GRE and fine tuning my statement of purpose for my number one graduate school choice. I feel so determined right now to go all out on this particular application and really give my 110 percent both on the GRE and in completing the remainder of the application materials.

Applying to an institution in the Ivy League something that I never thought that I would do but after meeting so many amazing people, it does not surprise me that they have motivated me to really go above what I think I can accomplish.

I’m getting the opportunity to network with professionals that share identities with me which I believe is the best thing that could have ever happened. Many of these professionals have opened the door for me to really explore the field a bit deeper and it is helping me in guidance to discovering what area of student affairs I want to focus on.

Although I am still very passionate about leadership development, it is also very important to me to be involved in areas that provide resources to students that may be first-generation students, low-income students, or students from various minority groups such as being a person of color or identifying as LGBTQ+.

Personally, I don’t think there is enough praise given to students that identify as first-generation that are about to be the first in their family to get a degree. I have had the pleasure of sharing with some of the Summer@Brown students that being a first-generation student is more than just getting a degree.  Being first-generation means that you get to set the bar for many of the people in your family and / or community. Many were also concerned with being people of color and attending a predominantly white institution (PWI). As a student that does attend a PWI, I shared with them that sometimes you have to be that person to go out of your comfort zone and show others that are like you that it’s ok.

I’m learning more and more that this field is all about taking chances as well as being prepared for any kind of situation. It is going to be really hard to return home but I know that I have to take what I’ve learned and try my best to apply it to my own leadership development. I am learning that there are many people that do not support me and the career path that I have chosen, but I am also learning that through the connections that I have made and through the many people that I have met in this field, there are some people that do believe in me as an aspiring professional and I am so thankful for them and their continued support.

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Being Bruno The Bear

Hello Readers,

These past few weeks during the Activites Fair’s on Sundays, I have offered extra assistance by volunteering to be Bruno The Bear and make an appearance for all of the incoming students. Normally, students would only get to see Bruno when checking in for the program on Sunday morning and I had never got the opportunity to be Bruno before so I jumped at the chance to try it out.

Bruno The Bear

Many of the other RAs complained about being Bruno during the morning shift, that it was too hot, that it was too early in the morning, that it was difficult to walk around in. One thing that I am trying to learn about life is finding the positives in every situation.

I didn’t let any of the negatives that my fellow RAs were saying keep me from being the best Bruno that I could be. Yes, it was hot but I can honestly say I had fun. Being in a costume like this gives a person the opportunity to act like a complete fool and just let loose and have fun and nobody will ever know that it is you. You get to be like a “celebrity” and have crowds of students fussing over who will be next to take a picture with you. I personally think that this makes dealing with all the other things worth it.

Sometimes, the most important part about being an intern is being willing to do those things that nobody else wants to do especially when you are not getting paid any extra money. It felt good to be Bruno and bring a smile to many students. If Arkansas Tech had a mascot, best believe I probably would be in it.

Time To Move On

Here at Brown, I have truly felt support from my fellow RAs and the RDs that are here for the Pre-College program. They don’t judge me based on my opinion, they are always extremely supportive and what is upsetting is I don’t remember ever genuinely getting this support from my home institution.

I try to serve as a positive example of the leaders that my institution can produce but at the same time, I am starting to realize that most of the people that were supposed to be part of my support system are not really there to support me at all.

broken_heart

There have been people that have told me that I am not capable of achieving my goals of becoming a student affairs professional. Because of some events that occurred during a time in my life where I was really struggling to find myself, it has caused some people to lose faith in my abilities to even go into the field of student affairs. There have been people that have straight up told me “I don’t think you can handle a career in this field”.

For a long time now, this has really held me back from being confident in my abilities to become a future graduate student. Even though I have held several leadership positions on campus and I am currently doing an internship at an Ivy League institution, those words still bother me and hurts me to my soul. I think many of the students that I have been able to support through my leadership really believe in me and I believe that is how I have been able to hold several positions, but not the professional staff. Deep down, I feel like they really don’t think I can do anything right. I feel that they just put up with me because the students picked me not them.

I don’t think I will truly have closure on this until I have walked across the stage and received my degree. I am trying my best to learn from my past experiences and use them to be a better Mike Harris in the long run, but not having any support from the professionals at my institution really make it difficult to keep pushing on.

I just know at the end of the day, I am glad that I have the support that I do have from others that have moved on and a handful of graduate students, a few faculty advisors and professors at my institution that support me. I can’t thank them enough for their help and guidance.

Summer@Brown Continues

Hello Readers,

It has been quite a while since I have made a blog post. There has been much going on lately as the summer continues.

So far I have gotten my first group of residents in my building, served my first night in the on-call duty rotation, completed my online summer course, gotten a head start on my graduate school applications, hosted a few workshops and began a new project that I hope to complete before the end of the summer or by graduation.

Yes, I know it sounds like a lot but being at Brown, I just feel so inspired to do more and be more.

It was definitely a challenge getting back into the norms of the resident assistant position. It has been almost two years now since I served on an on-call duty rotation and being the RA on-duty for emergencies, I must admit I did not get any sleep. I was afraid that the phone would ring and I would sleep past the call. I know that timing is everything when it comes to emergency situations and I want to make sure that I am 100 percent ready for anything that might happen.

I have really enjoyed being able to speak to students during the diversity workshop that I co-facilitate with two other RAs about being a first generation college student and what resources are available both before and during college. It just feels so rewarding to be role models to these students and show them that even though we are low-income, first-generation students, we can do anything we set our minds to.

I have just been so inspired being around so many different leaders of different backgrounds here at Brown. I have gotten to know people that are leaders in the field of Public Health, people who are leaders in the LGBTQ+ community and people that are leaders in the field of higher education and student affairs. I have never been in a place where I have felt so socially accepted and I feel like it is really pushing me to be at my best.

This summer, I am doing something that I never thought I would do, apply to an institution in the Ivy League. My current top choice for graduate school is the Master of Science in Education program in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. After speaking with recent graduates from UPenn as well as the faculty about the program, I am feeling really determined to see if I can get into this institution.

I have so much support from my RA colleagues as well as a few of the Resident Directors and a few of my mentors from home and I always remember what a wise person told me “Don’t settle for anything small, be the best that you can be”. Those words have continued to linger in the back of my head and they motivate me every day to work hard and get into a good graduate program.

GRE

I can’t wait to see what other exciting things the summer holds and as I begin preparation for the Graduate Record Examination that I plan to take next month. Wish me Luck!