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This two year graduate program has served as an informative and thought provoking

experience in regards to the multi-dimensional field of higher education. Some of the most
impactful content I have learned is centered on leadership, assessment and student development
theory.
Prior to enrolling in my leadership course, I had a very rudimentary definition of
leadership. It was comprised of the denotative meaning of the word leader. I also linked leader to
terms such as boss and supervisor, however, I was not fully aware of the various kinds of leaders
that exist, and what it meant to be a good leader. I had a very limited understanding of what it
meant to be a transformative leader, a servant leader or an authentic leader. My leadership course
took me on an educational journey that revolved around the concept of leadership and the types
of leadership that manifest in our society. Through the class discussions, readings and
assignments, I was able to apply self-reflection, which enabled me to differentiate between
management and leadership. Two concepts I seemed to intertwine. Now, as a result of the
course, I have developed my own definition of leadership, which I strive to fully attain one day.
Another important piece that I learned throughout the program was the piece on
evaluation and assessment. That course challenged me to awaken my critical thinking, creative
and analytical skills, incorporating all of them into a culminating project. Through discussions
and lectures I came to terms with the fact that assessment is prevalent in higher education and it
will not cease from existence any time soon. Even though the implementation of an assessment
initiative may be challenging, the results one obtains with the help of an assessment tool will be
valuable in enhancing the service or product being assessed.
I thoroughly appreciate the requirement to take the student development theory course. I
foresee myself utilizing the college-student development theories as embark upon my

professional practice of student advising. Student development theories can be strictly applied to
traditional aged college students, since those folks are entering young adulthood and their ideas
and philosophies of society and themselves are still forming. For a large percentage of traditional
aged college students, the inception of the college experience is a new chapter and an
opportunity for them to be themselves and take advantage of various opportunities. Selfdiscovery and the development of new relationships, along with rigorous academics and parttime jobs can be challenging for students. However, theories such as Chickerings identity
development theory, Perrys theory of intellectual and ethical development, along with social,
racial and gender identity development theories can be used so that I can help students
understand and process the dissonance they might be experiencing.
At this current state, it is difficult for me to assess what I have learned about myself and
whether I have changed throughout the duration of this program. If anything, the experiences and
challenges of the program have reaffirmed my student oriented philosophy, my ability to
prioritize, plan and organize, as well as my goal-oriented and resourceful nature. Being able to
successfully juggle a full graduate course load, an internship and a part-time job have proven my
ability to multitask and handle various significant projects all at once. Needless to say, very few
people prefer to work under such conditions, however, this challenge certainly increased my selfconfidence and self-efficacy. I believe I am more than adequately prepared to embark upon a
full-time job in student affairs now, than ever before.
Besides gaining relevant higher education experience, my professional full-time
position(s), internships and graduate assistantships have taught me teamwork, comradery,
adaptability, flexibility, agility, resilience and persistence. I am a highly motivated individual
who obtains energy from colleagues and peers. For that reason, I thrive in a team-oriented work

environment where we are all striving to achieve the same goal; help college students. I also
need to mention the importance of being able to adapt and cater to the daily, altering work
responsibilities. All of my work experience has taught me to be comfortable with unexpected
daily demands, and subsequently, prioritize accordingly. Emergencies happened, students need
assistance at the last possible minute, and it is my responsibility to be receptive and proactive
when presented with sudden changes. This is also where the comradery piece can be infused
because, I have learned how to reach out for help among my colleagues, and the same has been
reciprocated to me. I have also become more resilient by learning from my mistakes, owning up
to them and continuing to move forward. The trial and error technique has certainly assisted me
whenever I have been faced with challenging tasks.
My social justice course has introduced me to the multitude of layers and forms that are
related to social justice. Social justice is fluid and it encompasses many identities, which are
intertwined and intersecting. The ability to exercise self-reflection and delve deeper into my
target and agent identities will inform and guide my work in higher education. My perception
and interpretation of the concept of social justice is that, it asks us not to assume anything about
a person, but rather listen to their story and dialogue with the help of establishing a safe space.
Social justice readings and lectures have taught me to empower and support people of different
origins, cultures and identities. Social justice embraces the myriad of identities we all hold and
propels us to combat oppression, inequality and marginalization. I want to pass on this same
attitude and belief to my students, with the hopes that they will also adopt a social justice lens.