B.A. in Psychology & Social Behavior; Minor in Educational Studies; Peer Academic Advisor
School of Education
May 1, 2009
Undergraduate Experiences Encourage Choice of Student Affairs as Graduate School Major
I started UC Irvine as an Undecided/Undeclared major. I had no idea what I wanted to pursue; however, I did know that I enjoyed the education field.
During my senior year of high school I had volunteered in a third grade classroom. At UC Irvine, my friend recommended that I take Education 160: Practicum in After School Learning and Inquiry. I enrolled and liked the smaller class size and the opportunity to interact with others in the class. After taking Education 160, I knew that I wanted to be an Education minor even before I knew what I wanted to pursue as a major. When I eventually declared a Psychology and Social Behavior major, the Education minor supplemented my major well.
During my second year of college, I had my first exposure to the field of student affairs when I was hired for the Mesa Court Council Executive Board. In this position I was able to advocate for the residents of Mesa Court and plan programs for them.
During my Education 50 class my sophomore year, Coach T [Lecturer Emeritus Tim Tift] came to encourage people to apply for the position of Peer Academic Advisor (PAA) in the Student Affairs Office of the Department of Education. I applied and was hired. Concurrently, I also was selected to be a Discussion Leader for University Studies 2, a class that all Undecided/Undeclared students are required to take. These activities, and teaching a leadership class for freshmen, gave me valuable experience in working with my peers and led to additional opportunities. During the past two summers, I have been a Summer Conference Assistant in the Resident Halls. For the past two years, I have served first as a Resident Advisor in Mesa Court and subsequently as House Assistant in Arroyo Vista.
As I am about to graduate, I have been reflecting on my three years as a PAA. I am thankful for the experience and recognize that the PAA position has been a perfect fit for me. The positive atmosphere in the Department of Education has made it a great place to go to work every day, and my position has been unique compared to PAAs in other schools because I am the only PAA in the Department. I have felt like a valued member of the team and not just a student who happened to work in the office.
My favorite aspect of the PAA position has been working with students and informing them what they need to do to complete the Minor in Educational Studies. The PAA position also has given me the opportunity to improve my public speaking skills by giving presentations about the Education minor to undergraduate classes.
All my leadership experiences and my various classes have helped me determine what I want to pursue in the future. In Fall 2009, I will be going to graduate school for a degree in Higher Education Student Affairs.