Best Summer

by Grant Batchelder
@batchaelder

The summer between my first and second year of graduate school, I did an ACUHO-I internship with UC Santa Cruz colleges 9 & 10 residence life. It was a hard decision for me at the time to take the position. I had a few other offers and this one did not pay. I know what you are all thinking “you took a non-paying internship over paying ones?” Yes, yes I did. During my phone interviews with the school, I was energized by the excitement these people had. I was enthralled by the unique structure of UC Santa Cruz and it felt right. The UC system starts later and ends later than other schools. I was at my apartment in the LA area for a month after school had ended and two weeks after any of my three roommates had left. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore; I called and asked them when I could come up. They said that if I agreed to help checkouts and help with graduation, I could come at any time. I was on the plane the next week. Once I arrived, I set up my temporary home then went to meet the Community Advisors. These were not the students I would be working with over the summer, except one, but they were some very nice and entertaining young men and women. The one I would be working with I found to be brilliant and engaging. I helped with their checkouts and graduation, getting seriously burned in the process, then got on to planning training.

My supervisors had planned most of training but left bits for me to add in and the supervision of my staff was completely up to me. I had a staff of six students from all over the campus. Most had never met, but all had been RA’s, NA’s, or CA’s; all the same position, but different titles. They were brilliant and creative. Our training sessions were engaging and filled with meaningful discussions. The program planning was the easiest I’ve ever seen with the most creative ideas (Milk and Cookies, you bake cookies while watching Milk, who doesn’t want to go to that?). The seven of us blended so well together. My one on ones would last an hour and a half with some of them. I had the time to let them decide how to spend their one on ones, with some I would play pool, hike, get coffee (or tea if you are me), or just sit and chat. I cannot stress how much this position and summer boosted my confidence in myself and in the abilities of college students. I know that had more to do with them than me, but it was the best summer.

To this day, these former students are very important to me. They were the first staff that was mine. The first staff I supervised and oversaw alone. The days that I get emails from them or check in text messages are always the happiest. I know that they will be very successful and change the world. I hope that each and every one of you has a staff like this at one point. I have been blessed to have great staffs since then as well, but this small staff of six experienced students with a drive to change the world were just what I needed to learn how to be a supervisor.


Student Affairs - the First Years

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