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Loyola University Chicago master’s program has been wonderful and rewarding.

There have been times throughout this experience when I was challenged, frustrated, and felt unsupported. Overall all it has been an awarded experience. I never would have thought or dreamed of being part of such a diverse community that truly values the whole person. I have been developed holistically and been able to fall in the process. Most important content I learned from the program The two courses that I learned the most in were Women in Higher Education and Social Justice in Higher Education. These two courses provided me the opportunity to understand myself. Looking and reflecting on my past experiences I was confused and sheltered to the point where I was lost. Lost in my thoughts and my identities, which is something that I did not consider much in undergrad. Dr. Bridget Kelly is a woman that I admired because I am unsure where and how I would have managed without her. Through this course I was able to be empowered, hear my voice, and live fully. I was taught how to reflect and own my identity and the comments in which I share in class. My confidence and self-efficacy was raised through the intentional conversations that happened in these courses. To see w woman that looked like me and role modeled the way for contributed to my experience as well. Most important thing that I have learned about yourself and how have you changed since you entered the program Sometimes we take for granted the many opportunities we are given to really reflect on life and what it has to offer. The most important thing that I have learned is my salient identities. I have never been in space where I was so aware of my identity. Being at a predominantly white institution and someone who identify as a women and a person of color is tough when you are

faced with challenges at your institution. As a result of my identity, I have been put in uncomfortable situations where my race and identity was targeted and where I felt uncomfortable. I was constantly reminded daily about the opportunity to engage in diverse dialogues is limited in the classroom because of the limited diversity within the classroom. I have witnessed issues relating to retention and support for students of color. I think I learned how much power the dominant voice has. For example, witnessing the white straight male identity start, carry-out and end the class dialogue is a testament of the constant struggles people of color face in the classroom. Through this experience I have learned and been empowered to name the reality and to speak up. I leave this program with clear advice and wisdom of how I overcome these challenges and ways in which I can be an ally for a population or an oppressed group. Most important things you have learned from graduate assistants, internships(s), and/or professional jobs you have had. InternshipI truly enjoyed my internship experience in California State University (San Marcos) in the Department of Housing. I learned that I have some strength in areas I thought I was weak in. I learned that I have a strength that I did not recognize, or understand how to utilize. I learned the difference between supervising and advising. I had been somewhat fearful in my advising relationships with students in the past because I did not know what outcomes I was expected to produce in working with the students. I thought I was a poor advisor because I did not really understand the role advisors play in contexts outside of student organization advising. The experience I had with advising at my internship has taught me how much of an impact you can

have in advising. Through this experience advising a student group worked wonderfully because I made sure to understand what role I was expected to play and was able to communicate effectively with the student group about what they should expect from me. Working with students as an advisor turned out to be one of the things I enjoyed most during my internship. Being able to provide advice on the work their doing helped me to establish myself as someone the students can come to when they want to discuss things other than their work on campus or in the community Assistantship To have a graduate assistantship is a privilege and I recognize that. I am beyond grateful for that opportunity and grateful. I am humble and aware of the barriers that this position has created within my cohort. As a graduate assistant in the Department of Residence Life I have had a remarkable experience. No day is the same in the department and I can share about many things that I learned but one that stands out to me is supervision and patience. I thought I had a lot of patience until I received a new supervisor my second year. A current supervisor is great but when they are new to the institution and not open to understanding the culture of the institution or department it could be tough. I learned early on that patience was important when discussing various things. Supervision was tough because of the inconsistency I was experiencing and not understanding what expectations I was being held to. Although I was frustrated at times because of it, I learned to provide constructive feedback and let some things go. I leaned when to pick my battles and the beauty of being a graduate student. Most important things you learned about social justice and how it will inform your future work in education

The most important things that I learned about social justice is that regardless of the identities people hold everyone in society can have an equitable shot to success and happiness. Another is life isn’t about rainbows and butterflies. Dr. Bridget Kelly made that clear to me and it was an awakening moment for me. I think we as people have to break down the walls we put up because they create barriers that prevent us from being vulnerable with one another. This definitely informs my work in education because students need to be taught vulnerability. According to Brene Brown,” vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness”. I totally agree with this quote and this has been something I see guiding my work as a professional.