Graduates should have the personal skills necessary to relate effectively with students as individuals. Specifically, students should be able to:
- assess the developmental and personal needs of individual college students;
- make positive contributions to the personal development and learning of individual students;
- assist students in accessing and utilizing a wide range of services and programs designed to benefit them.
During my assistantship at Harvey Mudd College as the graduate assistant for the Office of Career Services, I had the chance to meet with some brilliant young men and women. I worked with these students to polish their resumes and cover letters, assist them in finding internships and externships and sometimes just lend a listening ear. Occasionally, students wanted me to figure out what major they should study or what jobs they should apply for. Instead of telling what the students to do, I provide them with resources to assist them in their search.
Depending upon their learning style, I was able to suggest appropriate resources including: our occupational library; listings of Harvey Mudd alumni who they could get in touch with for information interviews or even job leads; internship and job search engines; career fairs, our resource guide, mock interviews and more (Kolb, 1981). For example, one student I worked with did not find searching for internships through a search engine his forte, instead he utilized our alumni database to contact alumni working in his field in a specific location. Being an HMC student, this student’s active experimentation does not surprise me in the least –as most students are science, math or engineering majors – all actively experimenting in once class or another (Kolb, 1981).
A Learning Lab
As a marketing assistant for Associated Student’s (ASI) Gas Creative Group at Cal Poly Pomona, I had the privilege of supervising more than 20 student workers. Most of my focus included working with those students who had backgrounds in communication, marketing, photography and Web design. ASI itself is considered to be a learning lab for students – their motto is “students serving students.” At Gas we were the epitome of our motto. Student groups, faculty, departments and even the President’s office utilized our office to produce top-notch marketing campaigns, publications, Web sites and materials. We feel our office’s creative and relaxed environment, yet professional expectations of our student staff aloud our students to grow immensely (Sanford, 1967 and Kuh, 1996).
I was able to teach the students the skills they needed to improve their talent, all while working in a creative environment and producing quality work. I let student staff writers and editors write and edit their own pieces before coming to me for final approval – from there I edited their work and showed them what their mistakes were and how to correct them. For the more novice students, I was assisting them in developing their intellectual competence and for those about to graduate, I was reaffirming their purpose (Chickering and Reisser, 1993). They were trained on customer service so that they were confident in working with clients on various projects. Informally I was there to listen to them when they needed to vent or get an outside opinion. See the news site I worked with the students to update: http://www.asicalpolypomona.com/asinside/.
My counseling experiences and class interactions derive from when I was enrolled in APU’s Educational Counseling program. During my very first class, Basic School Counseling, I performed a consultation with a high school student over a period of time encompassing six, half-hour sessions. The class was trained to use various counseling methods and to follow a guideline for the process.
The consultation with a high school senior began with becoming acquainted with the counselee and identifying her problem she wanted to focus on. Her challenge was figuring out what was going to happen after she graduated high school. Using the rest of the sessions, I assisted her in clarifying and elaborating her goals by using choice therapy (Glasser, 1965), pulled in a few career self-assessments (Holland’s Assessment Booklet), provided her with homework in investigating majors and colleges (Adler, as cited in Sharf, 2010) and assisted her in creating a time line for tasks at hand in regards to her future. The epiphany of the entire experience was during the very last session: I moved the location of the consultation to a local Starbucks. Throughout all other sessions we met in a classroom, a place where she felt “socially dysfunctional” as she worded it. I was more concerned about meeting in a safe and confidential place where she could feel safe, yet we were meeting in a place that she clearly hated. After moving our sessions to a setting I found she loved, our conversations were much more open, positive and engaging (Sanford, 1967).