||Summer 2003 was a life-changing few months for me. I was able to travel to several locations, and I have even made a decision on a career which is quite amazing for most fourth-year students. When I talk to a lot of my friends, most of them have no idea what they will be doing after graduation. Even though I don't know where I will be, I do know what I will be doing. For my mother's sake I have limited my job search to Florida so that she can at least have one or two more years of me being some what closer to home. When I start my search for graduate school next year, I will not keep my focus on staying in Florida.
My summer of traveling began with a trip to NACURH 2003 at North Carolina State University. As a member of the National Information Center (NIC) all of my flight and travel expenses were paid during my week-long stay in North Carolina. The conference delegation included approximately 10,000 students from colleges and universities across the United States and Canada.
Imagine being in a stadium watching over a thousand people perform a choreographed dance. I spent my whole week watching people with so much school pride that they wore matching outfits complete with long socks, wigs, face paint and anything out of the ordinary they could find.
This summer, I worked as an intern at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I was employed by the Office of Advancement which raises funds solely for the medical school. I was very grateful for this opportunity, but I did not realize what a tough road there was ahead of me. Before I became an intern, I remember hearing stories about how interns are worked to the bone with little or no rewards, but I must say I am proud of all the hard work I did this summer. I can now look back and see that at times I felt like I got lemons, but I did a pretty good job of making lemonade.
I was so fortunate to land an apartment only about three blocks away from my house. Being able to walk to and from work everyday was a great way for me to relax and clear my head. My roommate, Elena, was amazing in all aspects because she definitely took care of me, and when times got rough I was able to return the favor. During the weekends, we took trips downtown to take in the numerous cultural events.
My friend Nathalie was also interning in Illinois. Nathalie is a fourth-year public relations major at UF. She was interning at Northwestern University in Evanston which is a short 30-45 minute train ride from Chicago. It was so comforting to have a familiar person in such a strange place. I was able to visit her on the weekend or she would come and visit me.
My trip to Las Vegas came mid-summer while I was still interning in Chicago. I was chosen to represent UF's Department of Housing and Residence Life Education at (ACUHO-I) STARS College. I was one of 35 other students who were chosen from colleges and universities all over the United States, Canada, England and Australia to attend this conference. My selection as the UF delegate included an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas, NV for four days and three nights at the Riviera Hotel.
During my short stay in Las Vegas, I was able to meet college students who are also considering a career in Student Affairs. I was teamed up with an out-of-state and a UF mentor. My out-of-state mentor is Bob Huss, director of residential life at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater. My UF mentor is Lisa Diekow, associate director of Housing and Residence Education.
Copyright ©: 2003 Cherise James
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