Aloha!…from the Aloha State

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Kenny&I!

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Doris&I

Diamondhead@Waikiki

Aloha friends! I hope that everyone is doing very well and enjoying their respective summers! It has been such a whirlwind of an internship for me here at the University of Hawaii at Manoa! I am currently doing my internship in the Residence Life department of Student Housing Services, specifically focusing on Apartment Life. More specifically, my internship focuses on developing a proposal/action plan for the next 5 years as they work on implementing a more robust Graduate & Family Housing Program on top of a few other responsibilities I juggle beyond that. It is exciting to think about being part of the foundation of this program and although it is short and has moved very quickly, I have absolutely loved my time here in this beautiful location and the kindness from others I have received while being here in Hawaii.

Since I have begun my time at UH Manoa, I have been so kindly welcomed and included by my department. They have recognized that I was here for personal and professional growth and have allowed me to sit in on trainings, attend department socials, shadow judicial cases, and have specific conversations to further include me in their community and share in their wisdom – even though I am only here for a short time. I have also met and reconnected with other student affairs professionals on the UH Manoa campus as well as throughout Honolulu and I am confident I will have close ties with them throughout my professional career. I have also gained an immense amount of knowledge about the unique needs of both graduate students and students with family but I have also learned a lot about how a large, public, out of region institution functions. It is all great food for thought as I contemplate areas to potentially live and work within the near future. I am learning so much. That is perhaps the best way I can express how I feel about my professional growth as of right now.

Aside from work, I am enjoying what the area has to offer. So far I have skydived, snorkeled with dolphins and sea turtles (one swam right under me – a foot away!), attended a luau, witnessed beautiful sites throughout the island, rode a motorcycle, gone stand-up paddle boarding, have been able to end my runs at the beach, and have enjoyed amazing food and sun! On top of that, I have connected and reconnected with many other student affairs personnel, SDA alums, and friends of our fellow SDAers! Reflecting further on the gems of networking experiences I have had here, I would like to thank Dr. Tim Wilson & our very own Bopha Cheng for helping me connect with some lovely folks! I am so thankful for your help!

Overall, this internship is moving faster than I can keep up with which has made this blog post difficult to write in some respects because I desire to fully dissect all that I have learned and experienced in these last 3 ½ weeks but I know that I will have a better handle on what I have experienced in time… Or perhaps on the plane ride home… J I will return to Seattle exactly a week from today (Monday, August 5th)! If any of you would like to catch lunch, coffee, dinner, or happy hour please let me know! I would be more than excited to reconnect with all of you as I have missed you all tremendously! Mahalo for your time in sharing my experience with me!

~Jackie Saarenas

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2 thoughts on “Aloha!…from the Aloha State

  1. Hi, Jackie. I love your pictures that go along with your blog. I am glad you are having a good experience. Tell Doris Ching hi from me! Jeremy

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