Back to School

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting this summer as I prepare to leave my current position as an Admission Counselor at the University of Iowa. A little background: as an undergraduate, I worked in the Office of Admissions in two student positions and absolutely adored it. So much so that I began considering a year or two in admissions post-graduation. Driven by my desire to return to admissions and a feeling of uncertainty as I navigated student teaching, I accepted a temporary counselor position following graduation and a full-time position six months later. I knew my time as a counselor would either be short-term and followed by a return to teaching, or I’d decide to stay in higher education for a good portion of my career. A little over two and half years later, and I’ve made the difficult decision to return to the classroom.

I’m incredibly grateful for my time as an Admission Counselor. Working in admissions was a formative experience that shaped me professionally and personally. I grew to be a better professional, a better colleague, and a better public speaker. I discovered passions I didn’t know I had, such as advocating for rural students. I went from presenting to small groups as a student employee to presenting to over 800 visitors during Hawkeye Visit Days. I gained the confidence to advocate for students in my territory. I got involved on campus. My professional skillset, overall, was strengthened and will continue to benefit me in my future, too.

I also met amazing colleagues that quickly became friends and travel buddies, got involved in Iowa ACAC committees, learned from a NACAC SIG (Special Interest Group) and their resources, presented at the MIDWest virtual conference and at Admission Counselor University, and attended virtual PD sessions that helped me grow as a professional and individual.
I’m going to miss so much about my current position. I found so much fulfillment in the little things, the in-between moments that made long hours on the road and busy days so worth it. The feeling of a student you’ve been working with committing, long road trips to college fairs, saying “go Hawks!” at the end of a presentation, the beginning of a college fair when eager students flood the gym, meeting admission colleagues and high school counselors, receiving a friendly smile and wave when Iowa fans see my branded car roll through their small town, and hearing stories from alumni. Most of all I’m going to miss my “work family” at the University of Iowa and my professional network.

I wish more than anything I could somehow combine both careers, but I know that’s impossible. As much as I loved my current position, it’s time for me to return to the classroom. I’m excited to take the skills I’ve learned and continue advocating for students – just from a different perspective. Teaching has been the one job that I always knew I wanted. No matter what else I’ve considered, teaching was always part of my career plan. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to teach high school students. I won’t forget my time in admissions, but if there’s anything that comforts me, it’s that I will always be a Hawkeye.

When I wrap up my presentations for admissions, I usually end with telling my audience that I hope they choose a school that helps them grow personally, professionally, and academically. Six and a half years after I came to Iowa City, this is my thank you to the Office of Admissions and the University of Iowa for being that place for me.

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