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Parent & Family Programs
Initially, my career goal was to be a counselor for children and adolescents and my hope was to one day open a private practice. While pursuing a Masters in Social Work degree, I had the opportunity to serve as a Graduate Assistant in Career Services. This is where I discovered the world of Higher Education and found that I really enjoyed working with college students. Upon graduating, I worked outside of the Higher Education field for two years before starting at LSU as an Academic Counselor in the Center for Freshman Year (UCFY).
During my time in UCFY, I quickly realized that parents of this generation of students are heavily involved in the lives of their students. I had the opportunity to work with these parents through phone and email communication and during Orientation as a bus tour guide and moderator of a parent and student panel discussion. Working with parents was certainly interesting and most definitely rewarding. Parents are so appreciative of any information they can have to assist their student have a successful transition to college. When LSU had an opening within the Office of Orientation working with their Parent & Family Programs, I jumped at the chance to apply and make working with parents my full-time job. I enjoyed the fact that Higher Education utilized my counseling skills while also allowing me to take more of an administrative role in the profession.
My advice for students considering going into student affairs is to get as much experience as possible as both an undergraduate and while in graduate school through volunteer opportunities, job shadowing, internships, and assistantships. I would never have realized how much I enjoyed working in this field if it was not for my Graduate Assistantship in Career Services. If possible, get experience at different institutions, the more diverse your experiences are the better. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, research and reach out to other institutions to find out what peer institutions are doing and what has been successful and not so successful at their institution. Everyone I have met in the Higher Education field across the country has always been eager to help out fellow programs and share their success stories.