Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Student Reflection

by Susannah Koch

El poder de la paciencia

I cannot believe how quickly this semester is coming to a close. Everywhere I turn there are reminders about cap and gown orders, graduation tickets, final projects, exams, and job opportunities. This year has been much more than just a year at UofI, it has been a year of figuring out what I will become when I am no longer a student here. The best way to describe it is as the year of being patient. It is a scary thought, graduating, and has been weighing on my shoulders since I got back from Spain last year. This idea of finding a new title, what the “occupation” line will be filled with in the next few months- Unemployed? Part-time? Student?

I just recently received a job offer from The Fund for the Public Interest. It was an opportunity I actually found through the emails from Beth Chasco and then through the career center. I was excited to hear more about what the organization does and even more excited when I heard it was a non-profit helping spark actual change in our country. There has always been a part of me (maybe the young and naïve part) that wants to make a change in our world. I want to help people and make life a bit easier or healthier for generations to come. The job with The Fund would enable me to do that and to gain a lot of hands-on experience in working with a company and managing employees. In my interviews for the position of Citizen Outreach Director, I cited what I have learned through Spanish 232 and 332 in terms of social issues affecting immigrants and the importance of language services. It was nice to have some background on the issues that they are working on everyday, as well as some understanding of the challenges they face as a non-profit business.

In addition to my challenging year waiting patiently for one of my many job applications to work out, I have had quite the lesson in patience where I volunteer in the community. I have worked with children before, as a babysitter and with my niece, but never in a setting like the one at Vida Alegre. I enjoy my time there, but there have been a few trying moments in which I am not sure how to handle the children. It is a unique situation given the nature of the study that they are doing with the mothers. I want to implement some activities during the hour that the children are there so that they are busy, distracted, but also learning about how to help decrease stress at home and deal with stress themselves. I hope to continue working on these ideas and connect with my supervisor to see if they too believe they would be beneficial. Despite these problems, I am learning to be more patient and to understand that taking care of children is unpredictable, but fun!

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