This past summer has been an eye opening experience. My time at the Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach and Michigan Engineering’s Office of Advancement gave me my first glimpse of the world of development. However, while I enjoyed my time and appreciated the potential to create positive change that a job in development brings, as I alluded to in an earlier post, I do not think I will pursue higher education development as a career. For me, I’d much rather be “on the ground” helping people than doing it behind the scenes (which is the impression I got about development from my D-SIP experiences) — preferably in the legal field. I recognize that both are vital to any mission and you can’t have one without the other, but I simply prefer the former to the latter.
Regardless, I did not let that mindset affect my work. I successfully completed all of my objectives beyond my supervisor’s expectations and I was offered to return in the fall. I attribute this to my time management skills that I improved during the past 12 weeks. At first, I struggled to balance my class work with my “work-work.” Thursdays were particularly hectic, because I would have to finish up my weekly assignments given to me by my boss and complete any homework due the next morning. However, after a few weeks I was able to prioritize all of my responsibilities and tackle them in a much more efficient manner.
Despite the progress made in some areas (such as time management), I still struggled in others. The biggest struggle for me was adjusting to life in a professional environment, and this can be best illustrated by the following embarrassing story. One day, I sent an email to my supervisor and her boss, but I absentmindedly began the email with “hey.” Right after it sent, my supervisor came rushing to my desk and told me to try to unsend the email. It was then that I realized how informal — and, therefore, unprofessional — my message was. While I took this experience as a learning opportunity, I am still far from fully addressing my professional development troubles.