Reflections of an ACUHO-I Intern (Week 10): End of the Journey? Or the Beginning?

This series provides one intern’s perspective, always refer to the official site for ACUHO-I’s Housing Internship Program for the most up-to-date information.

As I ruminate on my experience as Roompact’s Professional Development and Practice Intern, I look back on my time fondly. I spent the summer working on numerous projects including the creation of blog posts and podcasts, developing new employee onboarding and professional development activities that relate to our B Corp certification, and working through my own professional development goals with the help of the Roompact team. I cannot express my gratitude to Paul and the other Roompact members for their constant support, encouragement, and willingness to entertain my ideas.

This experience gave me the opportunity to explore new career pathways, hone in my skills, and most importantly network. Coming into this internship, I didn’t necessarily know what to expect. Having had internships and part-time jobs prior, I had my own expectations for myself and the team I would be working with, and I knew I would need to communicate these in some way, but I underestimated the investment that would be placed on me. Whether it was taking an hour for a 1:1 to talk about my resume, meeting every other morning to check in on my projects, or taking time to ask about my professional goals and what could be done to assist me in achieving them, my professional development was always at the forefront of our discussions. 

To be honest, this could be tricky. In higher education, we ask 18-year-olds to choose their career for sometimes the next forty years. At 24, I was able to select a field I was passionate about, but some of my career goals are still up in the air. This internship provided me with a space to explore aspects of different positions to decide what felt like a fit and what I would leave after the summer.

As I mentioned in my previous reflection, WFH posed a difficult transition for me. I missed the face to face interaction I had during the school year with my residents and RAs, despite working with added Covid-19 precautions. I didn’t think I would be so impacted working in isolation for the summer with an online team. While I received support in the best capacities, it was still different from what has become my school year normal. 

However, my team and I made the best of it, facilitating introductions and listening sessions whenever possible to help build my network. If I gained anything from this experience, I learned how to interact with others in a fully online environment and was able to expand my network with some of the most skilled and involved professionals in the higher education and student affairs field. 

One of the reasons I decided to pursue a degree in higher education and student affairs is because of the close-knit community. In a field where everyone knows everyone, networking is integral to success. Having attended undergraduate and graduate programs at the same university, I was apprehensive about the opportunities I would have to expand my network. Working with the team at Roompact has allowed me to make new connections, cultivate new relationships, and lean on folks who are subject matter experts in their craft. It has been a delightful, engaging, and rewarding experience, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend a summer working with such dedicated and caring individuals.

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