The more self-reflection I engage in, the more I realize that my personal principles and values play a vital role in how I function professionally. If I think about it in more depth, I can begin to analyze just how I use them on a daily basis. They guide everything from my supervision style and the way in which I relate to co-workers to my work ethic and ultimate career goals.

I see empathy as both my greatest strength and weakness. This is the personal characteristic that I value most. A deeper understanding of my empathetic nature started during my first year as a Resident Assistant. My then Hall Director sat me down and told me that I would not find success in my position if I did not learn to separate my own emotions from a difficult situation I was facing. This reality check has stayed with me and influenced my interests in the areas of self-care and mental health concerns facing college students. It was also a stark reminder of the fact that I have this inherent desire to "fix" everything. Finding an appropriate balance is something that I continually struggle with and my actions are consistently guided by it. I am forever grateful for the professional that cared enough to have a tough conversation with me in an effort to further my professionalism.

The biggest way in which I utilize my personal principles and values in my work is in regards to relationships with both co-workers and students that I supervise. So much of what we do in our profession is connected to our interactions and the state of our relationships. In my professional role, I aim to maintain a strong sense of loyalty and find it imperative to support my co-workers, student staff, and residents outwardly. 

Additionally, I attempt to be intentional with the interactions that I have with individuals. As discussed previously, I enjoy building relationships and investing in people. Mentorship is one thing that I have grown to value during the last two years. I have always appreciated the mentors in my life, but now I find myself having the ability to be that mentor for my students. There is an incredible opportunity to influence a students’ future and this is one of the marvelous aspects of our profession.

Every day, I aspire to learn more about my personal supervising style as well as gain the necessary skills to provide a positive experience to students. I monitor my conversations with students to ensure that I am offering them different options, rather than just giving them advice. Their experience is unique to mine and my goal is to utilize my resources to empower the students with whom I work. If I need more information, I often try and reference more senior members of my department or past mentors in an attempt to gain the knowledge that comes directly from experience. 

Ultimately, my dreams are great and my aim is high. I fluctuate daily with what my lifelong goals actually are. One of the goals that I have after obtaining my master's degree is to pursue my doctoral degree in sociology, a subject I find absolutely fascinating and enticing. I love the idea of teaching and conducting research. During my time at FSU, I have had the experience to work with two faculty members on research, which has furthered my understanding of research methods. 

Option two is a career in international education, whether that means working with international students or with study abroad. The world is increasingly becoming more connected and administrators benefit from a more comprehensive international understanding. I believe in a global perspective and would enjoy facilitating those experiences for students.          

Whatever my career path, I have a set of goals that remain constant. I want to continuously improve and refuse to remain stagnant in both my personal and professional development. I want to remain academically and intellectually challenged, even outside of a degree seeking program. Above all, I have a great connection with The Starfish Story and my biggest goal is to make a difference, even if just to one individual.