Next week, I will be transitioning out of my role as the lead scholar of Social Justice Education at IUPUI and saying goodbye to the scholarship program in order to fulfill my new full time role at Hirons. Needless to say, I cried quite a bit at my last SJED Christmas Party this morning.
I joined this program in the fall of 2016, at the start of my sophomore year. At first, I was unsure of the whole thing and very nervous about meeting so many new people at our fall retreat.
I cannot even begin to truly explain how much I’ve grown in the time since I first became a scholar, although anyone who knows me can likely attest to it. I was unsure of myself and my values. I didn’t yet understand how to speak up or have confidence in my own opinions. Through two and half years of friendship, mentorship and leadership, all of that has changed.
As a scholar, I helped launch my university’s Social Justice Symposium, the third annual occurrence of which will take place in April of 2019. I developed graphic design, project management and social media skills. I learned how to facilitate difficult discussions on complex topics. There were an abundance of both personal and career development opportunities that I was able to take advantage of.
I’ve grown so close to the people in this program. When I jokingly call Assistant Director Amanda Bonilla and Program Coordinator Sarah Long “Mom,” it’s because SJED is my on-campus family. Those two women have inspired, befriended and mentored me throughout all of those aforementioned personal changes. I’m forever grateful for their guidance.
I have no clue what I’d have been doing during college without SJED, but I can guarantee I wouldn’t be the same person I am right now. Part of the reason that I’m in a place professionally to take on a full time job five months before college graduation is because of this program.