You are on page 1of 3

Gianna Lorbeck


UNIV 392

I am Transformed

This summer has been one of the best summers of my life, not only because of the fun or

the laughs, but because of the growth and transformation. Through constant self-reflection

throughout the summer, I’ve been able to acknowledge the personal and professional growth I

have acquired. This summer has taught me to always advocate for myself and my identities and

to never apologize for it. I have the students to thank for that. I was able to act upon each of the

learning objectives I established for myself at the beginning of the summer and feel

accomplished because of it. Working with these students was definitely a new experience, one

that has lead me re-think potential career paths in the future. This job isn’t just a source of

income. It led me to becoming invested in our students lives and wanting to continue that

investment in the future.

Before this summer, I had never seen myself working in an education setting or even with

students in general. Being an international studies major, I have a lot of autonomy when it comes

to the types of classes I want to take, as it is an interdisciplinary major. Due to the vast variety of

possibilities my major offers, I was never set on potential career options, until now. This job has

made me realize that working with high school students, marginalized and underrepresented

students specifically, is one of the things I am passionate about. This summer allowed me to

achieve a level of clarity in my future I never had before. Students from every single program we

have worked with have impacted me in ways I would have never expected. As one of my

learning objectives said, “As a result of working as a College Coach, I will be able to apply my

experience in working with first-generation students, low-income students, foster youth students,
and/or students of color to future job opportunities in my continuing college and post-graduate

career.”. The experiences I’ve had with these students will allow me to develop my passions into


In terms of professional development, I grew confident in my abilities as a leader. Being

a College Coach allowed me to improve on my weaknesses and discover strengths I didn’t know

I had. When working with the SEaL program, with the help of my fellow CC’s, we were able to

have an amazing class dynamic with our cohort of senior students. Through sharing my college

experience as a person of color in a predominantly white institution, I was able to connect with

the students on a more meaningful level. As another one of my learning objectives said, “As a

result of working as a College Coach, I will be able to develop my skills as a mentor to better

serve and work with youth and first-year college students for future mentorship opportunities.”. I

will take these skills and apply them to the mentorship role I have through SDMA this up-

coming fall. I am coming out of this summer job better equipped to serve my community and

tackle future responsibilities as a mentor.

Above all, this summer validated everything I am as a woman of color. I battled with how

hard it can be to simply exist as a person of color when everything you do is criticized. My

students served as a constant reminder to just keep existing. They showed me the importance of

not changing who you are or apologizing for it. While they may not have realized the impact

they had on me, they affirmed my abilities as a College Coach when I would feel as if what I was

doing wasn’t good enough. As the only black woman on the College Coach staff, I was reminded

how important it is to have representation of people of color in higher education. Oftentimes, it

was easier for our students of color to form a connection with the CC’s of color. Being able to

relate to the students caused them to be more open and receptive to forming relationships with
us. Seeing these connections develop and having the students become comfortable with me made

it all worthwhile. I realized how valuable our work as College Coaches is. Even though we were

hired to serve the students, a lot of the time we ended up more transformed by them than we

could have even imagined.