Although I was asked to write about my summer, it inevitably led me to reflect upon last summer. I did have a wonderful self-created assessment internship with the Community Programs Office at my undergrad institution, the University of California, Los Angeles. Also I took Best Practices as an independent study, exploring many institutions in Southern California (shout-outs to Babs and Elijah for a wonderful three-day journey).
But back to my point. I’m going to share what I felt and thought when I began this program. I was going through a rough patch because my dad, uncle, brothers, and I were evicted from our home right before I left LA. Like a kid, I quietly cried when pulling out of the driveway, knowing that things would be different when I returned. I knew I would have to rely less on my family from here on out.
So given the backstory, transitioning to Seattle, a new job, and a new institution was tough. Despite how others perceived me and despite what I told others, summer training and fall quarter was miserable. I experienced a sharp learning curve in my GAship, was bit by culture shock, and focused on how different I was than everyone else. I had trouble meeting expectations of SDA courses. It didn’t help that days became shorter. Darker. Wetter. I had anxiety about being on-call, about being a supervisor, about fitting in. I questioned whether I belonged at Seattle University. In short, I felt alone.
I’m writing about this because I feel that many of you can relate or will be able to soon enough. Here were my sources of strength:
-Identifying healthy de-stressing activities. My guitar was a remedy during stressful times.
-Exploring Seattle. After being on campus so many hours in the day, it was helpful to disconnect to anything students affairs or SU.
-Connecting with and recognizing others. Moments that I felt I mattered were times when other first years also spoke about their issues with transitioning into the SDA program. Moreover, I felt really good during times when a peer would come up to me and mention how they appreciated what I said in class. I know I don’t express it, but I totally remember affirmations from others.
SUSDA’s theme of the quarter is “Transitions.” Whether you are a first year or continuing student, we are somewhere along a timeline where transition is happening or coming up. Join us for the ride as we transition into a new academic year.
Michael de Vera