Final Project EDL 393 Travis Velasquez

Page 1: My Internship Experience/Meaningful Connections

This past semester I served as a Team Leader for the Blue Chip Leadership program. Essentially, my job was to mentor a group of first-year Blue Chip students through their first semester at the University of Arizona. My responsibilities included serving as a meeting facilitator for weekly team meetings. I also helped serve as a resource for the students when it came time for them to complete their requirements. Requirements such as completing their team badges which indicated their progress throughout Blue Chip. Another requirement I assisted in was for was Field Day (pictured above), which was a full-day team competition in teams competed against one-another in series of team-building based challenges. Similarly, the Blue Chip Blue Sync event and community service event were designed to force my team out of their comfort zones, as well as cooperate with each other in the hopes of working towards a common goal. The goal in the first instance was a two-minute synchronized dance that was to be performed in front of their fellow classmates. The goal in the second case was to clean up one of the public parks (pictured below) that is local to the University of Arizona campus. also facilitating weekly team meetings These meetings often focused around a variety of topics relating to the students' unique individual personal and professional skillets.

Page 2: Growth Through Experience

As my internship experienced transitioned away from the early stages of my semester I began to constantly have an internal dialogue regarding my personal ideals and values. At one point in the semester we were supposed to teach our students about 'grit and resiliency' and how it meant that when stress starts to take over our lives one is supposed to buckle down and carry on. It was here that I had been questioning myself and if I was practicing what I was preaching. My ideals and values were strong when I described it with my words, but they were not by any means as strong in my actions. It had been roughly 6 weeks into the Fall semester when I had already missed a total of two team leader meetings. The weekly meetings were among my duties as a team leader and were designed as a way to check in with my fellow classmates and myself in case we were struggling or perhaps needed advice. We were in the middle of the semester and there were two extremely important events that were still coming up, Field Day and Blue Sync (pictured below). After receiving a text from my very own supervisor stating that needed to step up and be a leader I realized it was now, or never. If I dropped the ball it meant that 12 other students would not be completing Blue Chip and every penny they put into the program would be for nothing. Luckily, I was able to get my team prepare for both events and they even in-fact earned the "Most In-Sync" award (pictured below). I remember the feeling after I had read that text message and realized that I had two choices. Quit, or stay. I decided the latter because it would be a moment that would define me for much longer than a semester. Blue Chip is a program I had been a part of for three full years already and it would be the biggest regret perhaps during my college career if I were to leave it all during my last year.

Page 3: How I Plan To Apply This In The Future

In the future am excited to pursue a Master's in Public Administration because I believe the organization I worked for, the Blue Chip Leadership program, has granted countless opportunities to develop my personal and professional skillets. Considering I am hoping to work in either a non-profit, private or public sector after college I will always be able to call on my personal and professional development with Blue Chip and how they genuinely shaped the person I am. The reason for this is because Blue Chip had faith in me and that I could invite a group of first-year students into our family. I am proud to be able to tell future employers that I took a leadership role in college that had an immense number of responsibilities that tested my public speaking skills (via my ability to facilitate weekly team meetings), as well as my organizational skills, time management, and even my ideals and values. Deciding to stay provided me with the tangible lesson that if the going get tough then the tough must get going and not quit. This I believe will be one of the most crucial lessons I can take away from my internship experience and into the real world.

Page 4: Personal Understandings

As far as my personal understandings are concerned I feel that I was able to be dropped in the middle of a handful of incoming first-year students and genuinely create a connection with each and every one of them. At first, I had assumed I would be an amazing facilitator no matter what the content covered. However, I realized that there are often topics that can make a person become uncomfortable or there are topics that some frankly wish not to discuss. I learned that when it comes to situations in which are you attempting to convey an issue or understanding it must be done in such a manner that is not aggressive nor elitist. In other words, during my internship I had to teach my students about the importance of different identities, privileges, and inclusive language. I learned that my personal understanding of a topic or issue was developed under my own unique perspective on the world. This means that another person might not naturally adhere to the ideals and values I have because they have a preconceived set of ideals and values. I learned throughout my internship that an open dialogue works best while discussing opposing ideals and values. For example, when a student of mine felt that it was ridiculous to alter their vocabulary merely for the sake of another person I was lucky enough to have had an ally during that meeting. Another student of mine actually defended me by stating the expression of 'the last straw breaking the camel's back' and how the pile-on principle can truly affect a person and their self-esteem.

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