The best feeling in the world

Becky MonroeBecky Monroe is a non-traditional student and senior Human Services Leadership major graduating this spring. She is a married mom of three children; juggling four classes, family life, and a twenty-hour-per-week internship in higher education promotion and encouragement. 

I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by. The semester is almost half over. Between my internship, classes, and my family life, it seems like I have no time left for anything else. I don’t recall every being so busy and enjoying it so much.

I have been interning at TRiO at UW-Fox Valley for more than a month. The staff has really gone out of their way to answer my questions and make me feel like part of the team. The staff consists of four people- Tammie, the director; Carol, the program assistant; and Linda and Amy, the program coordinators. Amy has only been working there for two months. It’s nice to have someone else who is new to the team. I never feel awkward asking her questions that may be seem kind of stupid.

I intern Monday through Friday. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays I’m at UW-Fox; Wednesdays I’m at Kaukauna High School with Amy; Thursdays I’m at Menasha High School with Linda.

When I’m in the schools with the coordinators we do workshops with the TRiO students, a different grade each week. We also spend time one-on-one with the kids, touching base with them, answering questions and helping to fill out college applications and FAFSA forms. It’s amazing to see how dedicated the coordinators are and how giving of their time.

When I’m at UW-Fox on Mondays and Fridays I’m working independently on several different projects. I’m compiling an updated contact list of all the colleges in Wisconsin that have Student Support Services (SSS) programs. I’m also putting together a list of all precollege summer programs offered in Wisconsin that meet certain criteria. They have to offer some kind of financial aid or accept DPI scholarships and are either residential programs or close enough to the area that would make them easy to commute to/from. I never knew that Wisconsin had so many programs to offer. We will hold a precollege program night at Menasha and at Kaukauna to give the list to the TRiO students and parents, and I need to have it ready and brochures about the specific programs to hand out. I’m excited to give this information to the kids so they can have the opportunity to live on a college campus for a few days and have an amazing learning experience.

Another program I’m working on is weekly listening calls with different presenters through the Department of Education’s College Affinity Access program. I listen to the presenters and follow along with their PowerPoint presentations. They are about an hour long and cover a wide variety of educational topics. I then take that information and present it to the staff at our Tuesday meetings. After my last presentation, Tammie asked me to make a three ring binder and put a summary of each topic along with a copy of the PowerPoint in it so they can have access to the information for future reference. It made me glad to know they found the information I gave them worthwhile.

I’ve also been on a couple field trips, with several more coming up — but those are stories for another day. I have been so busy trying to balance my internship with school and my family. Sometimes it feels like I barely have time to eat or sleep. But honestly, I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

At the end of the day, I feel like I have done something worthwhile- like I’ve accomplished something and made a difference — and that is the best feeling in the world.

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