Since starting my graduate program at Bridgewater this past fall I have been exposed to a lot of different experiences that will help me in the future. One of these experiences took place in November when I had the opportunity to attend ACUI at the University of Vermont. The theme for this conference was “Connecting to Our Roots,” which allowed me to reflect on why I wanted to attend graduate school for student affairs and how my past experiences will impact the way I move forward in this career.
This was my first time attending this conference as a graduate student. I was excited to be a part of the graduate track, which provided educational sessions tailored to graduate students. One of the advantages of being a part of the graduate track was being paired with a mentor from a different institution. I enjoyed this because I was able to discuss different ways universities program and how that impacts a student’s experience at that institution.
While I learned a great deal through attending different education sessions, I was also asked to facilitate Student Leadership Connections, which was an activity for undergraduate students at the conference. This part of the conference stood out to me because not only did I have the ability to network with second year graduate students from the University of Vermont and Central Connecticut State University, but I also had the ability to work with undergraduate students. The activity focused on undergraduate’s students about their experiences with student activities and how their experiences throughout their life have effected their beliefs and values. After completing this activity I realized that I am extremely fortunate to work with student leaders that are so passionate about their institutions and I look forward to the future ahead.
I believe that having this experience will allow me to work with new students in a different light. By understanding where a new student is coming from, I will be able to better understand the different situations they may be worried about. Since every individual has a different background it is important to take the time to listen and learn what his or her individual needs are. While attending this conference has allowed me to think about what it is like to work with new students I also learned how valuable networking is. Throughout this conference I was able to meet with Student Affairs Professionals from all over the Northeast. This will help me in the future because not only is it important to network with individuals at different institutions it is also important to collaborate with different departments in both Student and Academic Affairs.
Caroline Horne is a Graduate Intern in both the Office of New Student and Family Programs as well as the Office of Residence Life and Housing working with Residential Learning Communities.