My First Week

by Melissa Charles

What better way to introduce myself and talk a little bit about who I am than to describe my journey to the University of Michigan —Ann Arbor. This Fall I will be starting my Masters in Higher Education Admin with a concentration in Diversity and Social Justice, so naturally I am working out of an office which deals with these exact topics.

I packed my car, grabbed a friend and began the 18 hour drive from Florida with stops in Gainesville (Go Gators) and D.C. singing show tunes and listening to podcasts along the way.

Destination: Ann Arbor. But seriously, that’s it. No lease signed. No hotel booked. No friends/family in the area. Just a work start date and an arrival city with the assumption that “things will figure themselves out” when I get there. Needless to say, they didn’t. At least not as smoothly as I pictured they would in my head. So I went through the first week of my job with no place to live, a dwindling supply of wearable work clothing in my “overnight” bag, and really no certainty on how that would work itself out.

Still, being back in a student-centered environment where the conversation was continually centered around social identity and growth was a breath of fresh air. Knowing that I will get to spend at least the rest of my year working with students and faculty committed to building a truly inclusive and safe environment for all students/faculty/staff on campus has quickly become the highlight of my week. I can honestly say that despite the unfortunate situation of not having permanent housing, every day I walked into work this week I would instantly forget that — and this week’s just been orientation!

So that’s me. I’m a laid-back person who doesn’t stress too easily (maybe to a fault). I am passionate about social justice and diversity topics, and though I won’t try to make an activist out of everyone, I am eager to work with college students in helping them see how social justice does play a role in their daily lives/careers. I love the Gators. I love road trips and spontaneous adventures. I love theater and basketball. I love meaningful conversations with strangers and friends. I enjoy working out — this is a new enjoyment for me which has already persisted 3 months so I’m hoping it continues. And because this IS a student affairs blog, here’s the stuff I know you all REALLY want to know. And please, let me know if there’s any assessment I’ve missed or haven’t taken:

Strengths: Empathy, Strategic, Intellection, Includer, Belief
True Colors: Green, Blue/Orange (tied), Gold (clearly)
Enneagram: 9
DiSC: CiSD (I think)
Love Language: Quality Time

Thanks for reading! And side note, I may have finally secured housing! As this is my first week, I would really love to get a sense of who’s reading and what people want to read. Feel free to comment below!

Also, tweet me @MCharles5 your worst moving experience using #MovingSucks

Student Affairs - the First Years

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