Greetings SUSDA, Luisa Lora here! I am so very excited, and still in disbelief, that I am just one week away from starting my assistantship in the International Student Center and to be part of the SDA program, but before we go there, a brief introduction. So let’s go back, back in time…
I was born in the Dominican Republic to two amazing parents and have 3 older siblings. My brother and I, since we were the youngest and could not attend school yet, stayed in the Dominican Republic for 5 years while my parents and two older siblings moved to the U.S to start building a life for our family. Lawrence, Massachusetts became our home and is still where my parents and siblings reside. I attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and had a lovely four years. While at Holy Cross, I participated in many clubs and organization, including the Latin American Student Organization, the Campus Activities Board, the Pedro Arrupe Immersion Program, Women’s Rugby Football Club and Residence Life and Housing as a Resident Assistant for two years. It was in these positions that I fell in love with the student affairs profession.
However, I still wanted to pursue other interests and even career paths before committing to graduate school. I wanted to have no doubts that it was what I wanted to do, after all, we all know how much time and money is required for grad school. So when I graduated, I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) and was placed in San Jose, CA where I worked in the Youth Department of the YWCA, helping run an after school credit recovery program. It was a wonderful year filled with hardships, long days, tough decisions, harsh realities, laughter, love and learning. In the last few months of JVC I felt the urge to be abroad, something I didn’t feel I was ready for in undergrad. So I applied for a position in Madrid, Spain teaching English to middle school students. It was a great experience and reinforced my love of education.
After 9 amazing months, I returned to the states and settled in Los Angeles, CA. For the next 2.5 years I worked in retail and public relations. While I was happy working in these fields, student affairs was always on my mind and finally I decided this is the time. I applied to SU and was ecstatic to receive my acceptance letter! It also worked out that Paul, my boyfriend, had also decided on a move to WA for a job offer. So for the last 6 months, I have been on “break” in Wapato, WA living on an apple orchard and playing with my puppy Brady. (See pictures below)
In this time I was also fortunate to start my SDA journey with Best Practices. Although I was a bit nervous to be a student again, this course was a perfect reintroduction and gave me a crash course to student affairs and the SDA program. It was great to meet so many continuing students and some who had just graduated, as well as some of my cohort mates and faculty. It was also great to travel to nearby universities and learn best practices from them. However, I must admit, at some points in the course I did feel a bit overwhelmed especially with the terms and theories, however both Jeremy, Erin and students were helpful in explaining these things and letting me know that in no time I too will be confusing others with this lingo J Overall, I am so happy I took this course and I am looking forward to the Fall quarter and living in Seattle, now that I FINALLY found a place!
While I am excited to live in Seattle, the journey to find a place there was no easy task. I have been living in Wapato and commuting to Seattle when I needed to, mainly for Preview Days, Best Practices and apartment hunting. I spent many days making the 2 hour commute to see apartments only to arrive there and be told “oh, we JUST rented it out…” or to ask if the pictures listed on Craigslist were of another property they owned because this one is definitely not it. So needless to say, I was using the hash tag: #homelessinseattle a lot.
So after many failed attempts, Caity Hoover and I sat down at the Chieftain, recommended by Erin Lewis as the place to get things done, and were determined to conquer the Seattle rental market. After a lot of fries, Spinach dip and phone calls, we decided on a place in Beacon Hill, and while they did not have any two bedroom apartments listed, I just knew it was it….and it was! They had a two bedroom just come up for rent and I was there to hand them the non refundable- where is this going to-can I have it as a security deposit-no-okay-fine deposit. While I was sad to leave my hash tag behind, I was even happier to have a place come September and to be living with fellow cohort mate, Annette! I feel very fortunate to have had the support of Caity Hoover, who visited places and took pictures for me as well as Keisha Jackson who let me crash at her place and made me delicious breakfast for two days!
Needless to say, I am extremely blessed that my personal journey has led me here today, and I am very excited to start my assistantship and the fall quarter in the SDA program. I am so grateful to have met such wonderful people and I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the continuing students, cohort mates, faculty and staff. I am also very much looking forward to exploring Seattle and joining the amazing profession that is student affairs!
See you all very soon! – Luisa