Author Archives: Kayla Harvey

Stickin’ It to The Man, or At Least Trying To

I must have heard the phrases “get involved” and “network” three hundred times at my Orientation. I heard it so much that it totally shut me off to the idea of getting  “involved,” and I was worried that I would end up a slave to whatever group I was in like my Orientation leaders. I over-involved myself in high school, and I was so burnt out that  I was not about to jump head first into more meetings, committees and arguments over club funding.  Leaving my Orientation session, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to involve myself at all just to stick it to the “OSIL (Office of Student Involvement & Leadership) man.” However, my one-woman protest didn’t last very long….

I got up early one morning in July to check my email. The first thing in my inbox was an email explaining the new “Portfolios of Excellence” mentoring program that was to be offered to first year freshman. What struck me was the name. The term ‘excellence’ connotated that some feeling of success was to come from being part of this group. I also figured that it would be a good idea to have a mentor since I was new to the whole college thing, and was a little nervous about starting the semester two months later. I applied online via BSC’s Involvement Network, and was accepted. Right there, I knew my one woman protest was over. I gave into the man before school even started. When September came around we had a POE Opening Get-Together where we would meet our mentors and the other students in our group. I was pleased with my faculty mentor, she was a professor in the Social Work department and was pretty helpful during my first couple of weeks of school. For the time being, I was pretty content being involved in just one club. I made a new promise to myself that it would be the only club I would join. At least that was the promise I made to myself until the Fall Honors Program dinner in September…

Organization PictureI was faring pretty well in my quest to only involve myself in one club. Later in September, I went to the Fall Honors Program dinner. At this point, I didn’t really know anyone, so I sat at a table of complete strangers. The six of us made small talk. In conversation, one girl mentioned that she was the secretary of the Social Justice League on campus. When I hear that I almost spit my mashed potatoes out on the table. I couldn’t believe that there was a group on campus that actually appealed to my interests. I have always been passionate about socially conscious issues, but coming from the Conservative heartland of Massachusetts, I was always alone in my quest to help the homeless or bring fair trade bananas to my High School. I could feel the promise I made to myself about not getting involved slipping away quickly. While we were in line at the ice cream bar, I asked the girl how I go about joining SJL. She was really excited at the prospect of a new member; as soon as we returned to the table she took my email and put me on the mailing. I attended my first meeting that following Friday, and haven’t looked back since. The kids in that group are some of the most passionate and hardworking kids on campus, and I’m glad to be involved in an organization that has such a presence on campus. Joining SJL made realize that getting involved isn’t so bad, in fact, it’s the easier way to meet new people, make friends and network. I was no longer angry at that thought of involvement, and I wanted to find new ways to further involve myself in the BSC campus community.

As you may recall in my last post, I talked about my involvement in the Leadership Institute. That program truly helped me hone my leadership skills, and connect with some great people. I am here writing these blogs for you because of the power of networking. I would’ve never met my boss, Ed if I hadn’t met Beth through the Leadership Institute first. My lousy attempt at “stickin’ it to the man” taught me that involvement is a good thing and reinforced the idea that college is what YOU put into it. With my experiences working with POE, SJL, and the Leadership Institute, I’m not about ready to turn my back on getting involved anytime soon. I actually can’t get enough of it, and I’m really excited to see where my work with SJL and POE take me.

Sometimes we enter new things with negative attitudes and fixed ideas, as I did with the views on getting involved. My poor attempt at trying to fight the “man” before I even met the “man” failed me miserably because I had the wrong idea about it. Getting involved really is a good thing, and your Orientation leaders ARE NOT lying to you or not being genuine when they say how much they love the groups they are associated with.

How about you? What organizations are you involved in, if any? What were your apprehensions about getting involved on campus?

Here is a great story about Tent City, in cased you missed it, from The Enterprise in Brockton:

http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/education/x1659502023/Bridgewater-State-students-kick-off-Tent-City-to-raise-awareness-of-homelessness

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Filed under Prospective

Time for an Upgrade

This past September, I entered my freshman year at Bridgewater State College. Like all first time freshman, I entered school one giant ball of nerves and excitement. However, in just one semester at BSC, I learned more about myself than ever before. If I knew what I know now, I probably would have dealt with several situations much differently. The three most important lessons I learned are as follows:

Let go of the things you can’t control: As the proud driver of a 16-year-old vehicle, I realize the odds are against me in regards to car trouble….now. In the beginning of the semester, I thought my car would be just as reliable as it was for my junior and senior years of high school, but I forgot to take into account the fact I would driving 45 minutes to school, not 5. To my dismay, I had several weeks of car trouble in the beginning of the semester. I’ll spare the details, but it was an incredibly long ordeal full of arguing with AAA and my mechanic, crying, and money disappearing from my bank account. The reason my car troubles seemed so awful to me is because I am the type of person who must micro-manage and control every little aspect of their life. I had a hard time giving complete control of my car (and my money) over to the mechanic.. My car troubles taught me to let go of what I cannot control and deal with whatever happens. Throughout the ordeal, my mom kept reminding me that I was an adult, who was going to deal with adult problems. Now, I know the my mother’s advice is real; I AM an adult and I will have to face “adult problems” and deal with them without the help of others.

Quit planning so far ahead: I spent my high school years planning my college years. This may sound crazy, but it’s what I did. I knew (or thought I knew) what I wanted to be in my sophomore year. I started going on college visits in September of my junior year. I took my SATs and ACTs that June. Lastly, I applied early action to every college I applied to, and knew all of my acceptances by December. My academics and preparing college consumed me. The only time I socialized was either at crew practice or National Honor Society meetings (side note: I did have friends, I was just “too focused” to hang out with them outside of school). So going into the fall semester, I was ready to take all of my anthropology classes, graduate and go to grad school…or so I thought. I went into to first semester a public archaeology major, and I hated every minute of my archaeology class. Granted, I did what I had to do well in the class, but I realized that, in reality, archaeology is not as adventurous as Harrison Ford’s in Indiana Jones. I did not want to spent the rest of my life picking at plant remains. After heavy reflecting over break and looking into my real interests, I changed my major to political science. So, all of my planning and prematurely looking a grad schools in September was all for nothing. I learned to not plan so far ahead because in the end things don’t always go according to your big plan. I’m excited to see what possibilities open up with my new major in public administration and my minor in community leadership take me.

Stop over-analyzing every decision you make: I did involve myself in campus life this past semester, but it did not come easy for me. For example, in September, I noticed on BSC’s Involvement Network page a link to apply to be in OSIL’s (Office of Student Involvement and Leadership) Fall Leadership Institute. I applied and was accepted into the program. Part of the program required us to attend an open house to fill out a form and a get a better understanding of the program. I learned that there are  3 levels to the program: Level 1 entails listening to podcasts and filling out the guidebook, Level 2 entails both level 1 and being matched with a mentor, and lastly, Level 3 which entails both levels 1 and 2 along with completing a civic engagement project. I decided to sign up for level 3. For days, I agonized if it was the “right  thing” to do all three levels. Finally, I chose to do my project on suicide awareness and prevention because it was something I was truly passionate about. Of course, all things worked out in the end for me. I completed my project on time, people seemed to like it, I met a really great mentor, and learned a little about leadership. If I had let my over-analyzing get in the way as it has in the past, I would not have been able to carry out the things I did. As I enter the spring semester, I am more involved with the Social Justice League, work two jobs on campus, and applied to be a summer orientation leader. From this point forward, I am not going to let my doubts get in the way of  the things I want to do.

For any first time freshman, it is difficult trying to adjust to your new surroundings and find your place on campus. My first semester taught me that to carry out anything in life, I need to go with flow. I need to forget the things I cannot control, don’t plan to far ahead so I can enjoy my years here, and never over-analyze most of the decisions I make. I’m sure many freshman were in the same boat the “Old” Kayla. I grew to realize that my college will be some of the best times I have in life, so why not make the most of it.

How about you?  What would you tell your September 2009 self?

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Filed under Advice