Monday, December 23, 2019

A sense of satisfaction and a sigh of relief

Driving my classmates in a 15-person passenger van for the first time

Hello again! I hope everyone’s semester finished with a sense of satisfaction and a sigh of relief that it is over. Let’s catch up on all things College Student Affairs and in the Honors College.

Over the past few months, my personal and social relationships have skyrocketed. I have become incredibly close with many of my peers in my cohort and have found a safe and relaxing space among them. They have also introduced me to various new activities across campus that I am proud to have participated in! We have visited Rohrbachs’ Farm and enjoyed the October festivities, gone geocaching, watched the school’s amazing drag show (featuring one of our own cohort members), observed a probate for a sorority, joined the diversity and inclusion protest on campus, and spent numerous hours in the Graduate Study Lounge in the library laughing, crying, struggling, and learning together.

PLP socializing at President Hanna’s house
Through all of these experiences, I have realized how important it is to get up off the couch and socialize with the people around you. I am elated to have these moments and memories thus far and I cannot wait for another semester to continue dining in the Commons, hanging out in each other’s apartments, and being around one another.

My main priority at Bloomsburg is to learn and this includes the practical learning provided by my graduate assistantship. Next semester the Honors College (my GA site) will be moving to Lycoming Hall where the majority of our residential students are located. With this move, the Honors College will have a bigger space for programs and staff and better accessibility to its students. The College has expanded from one track to five tracks (research, internship, extra courses, presidential leadership program [PLP], and international experience). Each track has its unique requirements and specialties. In PLP, we have visited the home of University President Bashar Hanna, where he easily recalled our student’s names. He enjoys meeting with our students to see how they are doing throughout the semester. Also, in the international experience track, five faculty members and I will be taking 55 students on a month study tour to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, and Germany. They will take two courses in Poland and have the experience of a lifetime!

Class field trip to Wilkes University
Now, how is it possible to do all of that and still focus on school to maintain a 3.0 GPA to stay in the program? In our classes, with assistance from our professors and support from our cohort members, it is doable! So far, I have flawlessly (if I do say so myself) completed three courses: Foundations and Functions of Student Affairs, Student Development Theory, and Educational Research and Writing.

My peers and I have created numerous projects and presentations that, at times, were extremely nerve-wracking. Some of us presented two 30 to 45-minute group presentations (two of the biggest grades for our classes) in the same day back to back! Then, we went straight to finishing our 15-page Literature Review assignment. Even though this semester was incredibly tough at times and I wished I could just walk away, I am unbelievably proud of myself and my friends for all that we have accomplished in such a short amount of time. I hope next semester’s chaos will be just as invigorating.

Until next time,

— Jen Cole, #ProfessionalU #SAPro

Cole is pursuing her Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program.