Summer with SUSDA: Dispatches from Chicago

(SUSDA Vice-President Stephanie Weiskopf is soaking up the sun in Chicago, and relaying her internship experiences in our Summer with SUSDA.)

Happy summer all!

I hope everyone, wherever you are, has been able to enjoy the summer sun, outdoor activities, and taken time to do whatever makes you most happy. For some that might be reading a book or seeing live music and for some this might involve a summer internship – or maybe a combo of the two (let’s hope :) ).

This brings you to me, welcome to my life here in Chicago, IL! I am interning at DePaul University in the Office of New Student and Family Engagement implementing freshman and transfer orientation. My summer will include a total of 11 freshman orientations and 13 transfer orientations before I come back to Seattle mid-August. We all remember orientation or at least I hope we all remember orientation, as I am sure that is what brought some of us to study student affairs. Think back to many awkward moments, new friends, signing up for classes, getting a feel for campus culture and values, and your first exposure to residence hall living (even though it’s an empty room we still loved it). Despite the rapid way in which our world develops and the many advances in technology, I can honestly say that not much has changed about the student experience of orientation and that is exactly why I love it.

I still look around and see new students uncertain of what is to attend college. I see them reaching out to the student next to them. I see them holding on to their families or their families holding on to them, whichever way you chose to look at it. I see the contemplative moments of “who will I become in college?” and “what am I supposed to be doing with my life?” What I see most is that these students are at a turning point in their life. They are faced with significant transition (thanks Schlossberg) and many opportunities ahead.

Some days I am left feeling nostalgic of my college experience, but what I can say happens every day is that I feel truly blessed to have found a field that allows me to be involved in student’s lives during this time of transition and development. Orientation, in particular, allows me to intersect with students when they are most excited and nervous and eager and shy all at the same time. They are moldable and impressionable and orientation allows you to welcome them with open arms and show them the DePaul way, or the Montana way (Go Griz!). It really is a privilege to work in orientation and serve students in this time of transition. And working with orientation leaders ain’t too shabby either. They are outstanding student leaders and I feel privileged to be a part of their leadership development and summer experience. Their development from training to now is remarkable so I can only imagine how much more they will grow come September when they are orientation pros.

Simply put, I love orientation. This internship has deepened my love for student affairs and I am excited at what more is to come by mid-August. I read a blog today written by an Orientation Guru. Give it a read, and I hope you enjoy learning about her perspective on orientation.

Until we meet again on the SUSDA blog….. have a great and safe summer wherever you are! I am excited to see you all when I get back and feel so lucky to have the love and support of the SDA community, the SU community, my family, and friends. Love!


About Brandon

Blogging about my steady diet of culture.

3 thoughts on “Summer with SUSDA: Dispatches from Chicago

  1. Aaaah! Thanks for the shout out on my Orientation blog post! Thanks for sharing your love for the field and I hope your internship experience is just the start to a great career ahead :)

    • No, THANK YOU for your Orientation blog post! You have a gift with words and you really captured what working in orientation is like. Thanks for the best wishes! I have two weeks left here and get teary every day to think that orientation season is almost over… Hope your summer is wrapping up nicely! Hope to meet you some day in the future!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience in Orientation thus far at DePaul, Stephanie. Looking forward to visiting you soon!

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