Friday, August 3, 2012

A Change of Air

                    Today always brings something new and a change of air is happening for me at just the right time. I begin my field based practicum. This practicum is an opportunity that has been very difficult to secure. The purpose of it is to complete my coursework for my masters degree. My first year was in-residence study, while the second year is focused on a selected development problem. I began my search early on in November and struggled all the way until the end of May. I probably contacted 60 organizations and had 10 interviews. It takes commitment and determination to find an organization that will dedicate themselves to helping you expand your skills and qualifications in this field. I also wanted to find a good fit for myself. The organization I identified that is working on the development issue I selected is African Development Solutions (Adeso). 
                In particular, I was intrigued by the approach Adeso utilizes to address development issues  in East Africa. As an African based humanitarian and development organization, Adeso attempts to avoid and mitigate the environmental, social, and financial obstacles that inhibit the well being of a community. Adeso does this in a way that aspires to preserve African culture and values. Adeso believes that development must come from within and not outside African communities and that it is African communities themselves who must lead the development of Africa, and not external agencies. I will be working for Adeso as a Program Support Officer for the next year, doing professional-level work that will also enable me to learn about addressing the chosen development  topic in the field. Based on the experience, I will write a paper exploring what I learned about solving the selected development problem, using a case study approach. I will return in May 2013 to present my case study at a capstone colloquium and in theory graduate with an MA.

To anyone else in grad school right now here is some advice I found from a fellow blogger that helped me:
Be confident in your abilities.
Be patient with yourself.
Be your own best advocate.
Prioritize your own professional needs/goals.
Be kind to yourself.
Be proactive about self-care.
Be a friend/comrade to others and let them do the same for you.
Be willing to let your hair down!
Be better not bitter.
Fail forward.
Bring your A-game.
Be a light to others.

All of you that read this blog will be taking this journey with me. I look forward to it.

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