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Fall 2017

Posted by Avery Whittington (SDA) on November 30, 2017 at 1:11 PM PST

After a year at Seattle University, reflection is no longer just the name of an assignment, it’s become second nature. I’ve spent an incredible amount of time in reflection of how much I’ve grown over the past year. I’m not sure if I’d be recognizable to my past self, but I’m incredibly grateful for it.

This quarter, I’m in my program’s Capstone class, which means a lot of time spent focusing on my professional development and identity. Just a few weeks ago, I had the incredible opportunity to go to my first conference, which was in Hawaii. The conference deepened my understanding of and commitment to my chosen profession and reignited my passion for the work which has definitely been needed as senioritis has taken hold of me this quarter.

In the past months, I’ve also spent more time than ever thinking about my personal values and how I’ll contribute my gifts to my communities. I have grown in my awareness of myself, the world around me, and my place in it. I can’t imagine that this type of growth and the encouragement I’ve found in my pursuit of it would have been possible at any other institution.

While I unabashedly have a countdown to graduation app prominently on my iPhone home screen, I’m going to miss Seattle University. This school has become my home and has shaped me in ways that have genuinely touched my soul. I feel incredibly fortunate that a degree isn’t the only thing I’ll take away from SU; I’ll take a passion for serving the communities I’m in, colleagues that’ll continue to challenge and support me, and memories that I’m sure will be shared over countless meals in my lifetime. These next two quarters will, without a doubt, continue to be full of trials and celebrations and I’m eager to see the professional and person I’ll become through them.

-Avery Whittington (SDA)

Reflections on Applying to Grad School

Posted by Willa Kurland (SDA) on November 28, 2017 at 11:11 AM PST

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m sitting in the Westin hotel lobby in downtown Seattle. I was heading home from work (South Seattle College), and wasn’t going to make it home in time for my advising appointment phone call with Dr. Yamamura. While I wasn’t planning to hang out in a hotel lobby (because who does that??), I knew I could grab a cup of coffee and find a quiet place to talk on the phone. Plus, it makes me feel like I’m traveling—something I love.

I have been thinking a lot about the fact that exactly one year ago I had the opportunity to attend NASPA Western Regional Conference, which took place in the Seattle Westin hotel, and was the beginning of my SeattleU story. At the time I could barely imagine myself living in Seattle; the fact that I was applying to an out-of-state school was big. This time last fall, I thought I wanted to stay in California. I clearly remember telling one of my mentors, “I don’t think I see myself moving to Seattle...”

But here I am. I’m almost done with my first quarter and I finally feel like I have some sort of routine. Yes, it took eight weeks...and yes, it’s all about to change. Some days are harder than others, but I’m finding a new normal. I feel less like a fish out of water at work and I know (relatively) how much time I need to complete assignments for class. While I can confidently say I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome (it’s real, ya’ll), and most days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, I know this whole grad school thing is helping me grow personally, professionally a[SK1] nd academically. One of the most important reminders has to been to be patient with myself and others.

Looking back, I’m so glad to be on the other side of graduate school discernment process, the ambiguity of where I’d be next was never easy for me. If you’re applying to grad school right now, I won’t tell you to “trust the process,” instead focus on embracing it. Embrace the process, the ups, the downs, and the what ifs…because a year later I kind of feel like I’m back to square one. I don’t know what classes I want to take, I don’t know which internships I want to do, or which state I want to live in next, but I can say I’m looking forward to what’s to come. However, something I appreciate about this program is the ability to cater our experiences to our goals.

So while it may seem like going to grad school means you know what you want to do, that’s not necessarily the case. Luckily, through conversations with my peers, my advisor, and my mentors, I’m reminded I can’t compare my experience to others—but by knowing myself and my areas for growth, and being willing to try new things, I can’t make a wrong choice. We each have our own challenges to face and experiences to embark on. This is true for both applying to and surviving graduate school. So here’s to each application, each informational interview, and every tough question that leads to the next phase of “figuring out what I’m going to do”. 

 - Willa Kurland (SDA)

Cooking with AEDT

Posted by Aaron (AEDT) on June 13, 2017 at 8:06 AM PDT

Not too long ago a classmate of mine had a fun idea for us to have a cooking class. Since our AEDT program is online, it’s tough for us to network with one another. It was the end of the quarter and it was a great chance for us to take a break from the world of academia. One of the things that I like to do when we have networking opportunities like this is observe others, because I get to see more of everyone’s personality in person. It was quite fascinating to stand back and watch my classmates interact with each other. In many of our classes we’ve talked about having a community of learners, and it was so neat to watch a wonderful community of learners in front of me. As we were involved in cooking, the natural teacher instinct in my fellow classmates came out. We helped one another and were teaching each other in our kitchen classroom. It was great to see the comradery!


I was nervous for this cooking class because I was doing some of the teaching about the cuisine. I burned the first batch of vegetables, but Dr. Stacey Robbins was alongside me and she encouraged me and helped me through my mess up. Even though I was doing some of the teaching, I learned so much from my classmates on that day. Our natural instinct is to help one another. We are all students and it's important for us to encourage and support one another. I learned that I can't let titles and things intimidate me. As I left our cooking class I really felt and honored and privileged to work with and have such wonderful classmates. Many of them will be graduating, and I will really miss them.

- Aaron (AEDT) 

Reflection on the Year

Posted by Avery (SDA) on June 8, 2017 at 6:06 PM PDT

The academic year is quickly coming to an end, which is serving as a great opportunity for reflection. A year ago, moving to Seattle to begin this new adventure of graduate school was an exciting prospect that I couldn’t yet fully imagine. Since then, I’ve become a member of the SU community, and started down the path of developing into a professional.

When I started the program, just 9 months ago, I thought my goal was to return to a boarding school, like the one I graduated from, as a residential life staff member. The Student Development Administration program has provided me with countless opportunities to explore myself, my interests, and the field of education which has brought me to the conclusion that I don’t know what my goal is anymore.

Through networking opportunities provided by faculty and staff members who have truly taken the time to get to know me, I’ve realized there are multiple ways to get to the same positions, many of which I didn’t even know existed. Through my graduate assistantship, I’m learning how to incorporate research, theory, and my identities directly into my work. Through internship experiences, I’m learning what I value and thrive on in a professional setting. Finally, through the great relationships I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of within the SUSDA community, I’ve learned how to be vulnerable in order to let myself be supported and celebrated in ways that are lifegiving. My professional interests have shifted, but more importantly, I’ve had the opportunity and support to grow as a person in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve become more confident in myself and the gifts I’ve been blessed with, I’ve learned to articulate my values, started to figure out how privileged I’ve been to navigate systems not designed for me and am learning how to advocate for those who don’t have a voice within those systems.

A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be the person I am today. And I can’t imagine who I’ll be a year from now, but I know it’ll be someone I’m proud to be. 

- Avery