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Strengths

(LOs 2, 4, 5, 6, 10; Artifacts A1, A2, B1, B2, F1, H, & I)


Integrative Theme
Throughout my experience in the Student Development Administration program I
have come to notice that the key theme to my development has been self-authorship
(Baxter-Magolda, 2001). Studying the theory of self-authorship I recognize that prior to
deciding on where I went for graduate school I was at a crossroads. Growing up in Texas
and being the youngest of three, it was common and somewhat expected that I follow the
footsteps of my sisters. While the experiences I had were meaningful and fulfilling, the next
steps post-bachelors were unclear. I believe that many people struggle with the what do I
do now? question when they near any major transition period because they may not have
had to self-authorize before. It was exciting to think about my journey post-undergrad so I
found myself feeling empowered to create my own story and live out what I felt was calling
me. I was, and still am, lucky to have had a mentor challenging and encouraging me to
answer to what it is I truly wanted for myself post-bachelors. With moving to a new area,
figuring out things on my own, and adapting to new environments I am humbly impressed
and proud of all that I have accomplished. I have not only been able to establish the basics,
related to Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, but establish ground in self-authorizing (Merriam
et. al, 2007). Through my graduate work, fierce exploration of the world and myself I have
grown with confidence into the white-Hispanic, privileged and oppressed, woman I am
today. Three key strengths I have developed throughout my time in the SDA program are
adaptation, development of new knowledge and skill, and adopting professional
competences.

Learning Outcome Integration and Demonstration


Adaptation includes Learning Outcomes 2, 5, and 10. Adaptation is

multidimensional as the transition into a completely new area, institutional type(s), and my
own unique graduate assistantship, have made my professional journey complex yet
rewarding. Going from a large public institution, Texas A&M University, to a small faith
based school, Trinity Lutheran College, required that I adapt to a completely new
environment. Moving into transition was easier because I was expecting the changes
(Schlossberg, 1984). However, moving through (Schlossberg, 1984) transition was where
I felt majority of the growing pains because I was no longer following a formula (Baxter-
Magolda, 2001). As demonstrated in Artifact H, throughout my time in the SDA program I
have been able to establish and enhance professional identity, LO 10. The three key
dimensions of LO 10 are a sense of who I can be as a professional, where I am going as a
professional, and how I am going to get there. As demonstrated in Artifact H under
personal foundations, I have wholeheartedly adopted the Jesuit tradition of reflection into
my personal and professional life. I see myself continuing this process because I have
learned just how imperative it is to reflect on myself in order to create space in which I
work to progress a just and humane world.

Learning outcome 2 key dimensions are balance, self-awareness, and social

awareness. Artifact B1 and B2 illustrate how important work-life balance is for me in


order to maintain a healthy and empathic professional practice. Everything I do
professionally and personally comes back to the students. That is why it is important that I
connect the two facets of my life in ways that simultaneously energize me in and outside of
work. Who I am in my personal life defines who I am in my professional life and I believe a

healthy marriage of the two helps to create an example of balance for my students. When
students feel that I am being my authentic self with them than it provides them with an
opportunity to connect with me as a mentor, professional, and advocate. I have done this in
particular with my Student Events and Activities Team students at Trinity Lutheran
College, which is a new organization that I helped create and now advise. Integrating 1:1
weekly meetings with each of the Team students has provided opportunity for me to
understand the issues they are facing and how I can best serve them in my advisor role.
Moving forward in the student development profession I will continue to reflect on my
professional and personal practices so that I may stay energized yet balanced with both
facets of my life.

Learning outcome 5 builds off of LO 2 & 10. The three key defining dimensions of

LO 5 are collaboration, institutional context, and student population. As demonstrated in


artifact A, I, & F2 I utilize collaboration within varying institutional contexts in order to
better understand the student populations. Prior to the SDA program I understood these
key pieces for a unique large public land grant university, Texas A&M (Artifact A). Moving
through the SDA program and working for a small faith-based institution and a performing
arts institution, I had to first understand the context and student population I was working
with in order to begin adapting services. This is reinforced by Artifact F2, my letter of
promise written by my supervisor at Trinity Lutheran College. As I transition into new
institutional contexts I naturally invest in learning about the students I am serving, the
institution, and the issues everyone is facing. Building myself a foundation allows me to
understand where I can be of service to the students. Artifact I illustrates my commitment

to furthering my education on issues students and institutions are facing. This will allow
me approach service adaptation pragmatically.
Development of new knowledge and skill is demonstrated in LOs 5 & 6. LO 6 three
key defining dimensions are self-exploration, relationship management, and professional
integration. In the winter quarter of my first year I elected to take Leading with Emotional
Intelligence (EQ) offered through the Seattle University MBA program. EQ is a soft skill that
promotes emotional self-awareness, self-management, relationship awareness, and
relationship management by exploring empathy. Through these awarenesss, founded on
realizing how you emotionally interact with the world around you or empathize, there is
the potential for increased efficiency in affective leadership/management. Prior to EQ I
struggled with identifying what I needed from myself and from relationships. Developing
EQ skills has not only allowed me to explore more fulfilling relationships by identifying
personal need but in turn has also made me a more empathetic communicator, listener, and
student affairs practitioner. I have integrated my heightened interpersonal skills into all
aspects of my life but it has proven particularly useful when advising my students on the
Student Events and Activities Team. As demonstrated in Artifact I, EQ is something that I
want to continue pursuing and developing for personal growth and professional practice
integration.
LO 5 is demonstrated in Artifact I. In artifact I, objective four explores the
integration of EQ into my professional practice. I will continue to utilize EQ skill
development in my professional practice for students, faculty, and myself. My strength in
being able to adapt services to students will allow the integration of this important skill set.

It is important for me to find an institution that is open to the integration of formal and
informal Emotional Intelligence training.
Adopting professional competences is demonstrated in learning outcome 4. The
establishment of LO 4 can be seen in learning knew language, integrating language into
practice and sharing it with others. I chose the Student Development Administration
program at Seattle University because of its focus on social justice. Coming into a social
justice framework was new and slightly unsettling (Schlossberg, 1984). However, being
open to the language frequently used, such as multicultural competence, reflection, and
holistic education, has allowed me to actively integrate these terms into my vocabulary so
that I may assist in being apart of the formation of a global perspective for students and
myself. As demonstrated in Artifact H, the SDA program has helped me to establish a
foundation understanding equity, diversity, and inclusion through classes like Social
Justice, Multicultural Perspectives, and Student Development Theory. Through each of
these classes I was provided with theory and perspectives on exploring privilege,
oppression, and how I relate to both. In my Areas for Growth narrative I explore my
identities more and my continued learning with these intersectional ties.
Conclusion

My professional identity has evolved drastically in the past year and a half. I am onto

becoming the author of my life, which excites me because there is still so much for me to
explore (Baxter-Magolda, 2001). I believe that understanding your beliefs can open the
door to understanding and accepting others. Acceptance does not mean adopting but the
creation of mutual respect and empathy. Being an example for students in this regard is a
part of my calling in higher education.

References

Baxter-Magolda, M. (2001). Making their own way: Narratives for transforming
higher education to promote self-development. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A
comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Schlossberg, N. K. (1984). Counseling adults in transition. New York: Springer