Counseling & Personal Development
1. Mentoring (LA-Term)
Throughout my year-long graduate assistantship at APU’s urban semester, LA-Term, I was given the opportunity and responsibility to mentor five students each semester. This mentoring was initiated to ease the transition into Los Angeles for the students as well as to help them cope with the sometimes-intense site visits and experiences they have during LA-Term (such as sweat shops, gang and homeless-related non profit organizations, immigration law hearings, etc.). During our meetings, I listened to students and heard their stories, attempting primarily to better understand how we can improve students’ experiences in LA. As I heard about their struggles I realized that we needed a long-term, professional therapist to be available for student counseling each week. During each semester we used a tool called progress notes in order to help each other (staff) get a better idea of how students were doing during the semester.
2. Career Counseling
During our course, Career Counseling and Development (CSA573), each person in the cohort met with an undergraduate student on a weekly basis to help them in their vocational development. During our meetings, my client and I first began with an intake interview, then moved on to several personality tests (both Myers-Briggs and StrenthsFinder) along with a few activities designed to help the client realize what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. At the end of the semester, even though the client did not change his previously-chosen major/vocational choice (pre-med), he said going through the entire process definitely helped confirm his choice, and that he better understood himself and his tendencies because of it.
3. Coffee Houses
In order to create an environment on campus that enhanced the personal development and learning of students, we knew we needed more events that combined learning with entertaining, social activities. Each month during my time working in Communiversity, we designed a culturally-centered event on campus intended to not only celebrate and honor a culture, but also to spread awareness as well as knowledge of it to the rest of the student body. We teamed with the Multi-Ethnic Programs office in preparation for the events, and relied on student involvement for much of the planning in order to best fit what students would want to experience. These programs, or Coffee Houses, included all different types of performances like step dancing, beat poetry, acoustic performances, gospel choirs and even salsa dancing. The Coffee Houses served as a great way for students to connect with other students from cultures different from their own, as well as learn about their own culture in an in-depth, hands on approach (Helms, 1990: Howard-Hamilton, 2000).