Today I graduated from the UCLA Staff Enrichment Program. It was a year-long program that helped entry-level staff members grow and develop their career paths at UCLA. The program started in January 2016.
It was an awarding experience and I met a lot of great people because of the program. I definitely don’t have any regrets. I learned a lot about myself and have grown a sense of confidence in myself. It truly is a great opportunity.
I applied for the program back in September/October 2015 due to the recommendation of my supervisor. I got an interview around November and was accepted into the program in December. It was quite the process. You have to answer a questionnaire, your supervisor must write a recommendation letter, and you have to submit your resume.
Once the program began, we had an orientation. It was exciting to meet the other staff members who were accepted into the program. There were about 30 of us with our supervisors. Then there was a full-day retreat where we conquered our fears and built trust in each other.
The program also features monthly workshops. The workshops would be based on different topics related to professional development such as networking, job crafting, how to deliver a presentation, and so on. They were usually half-days in the morning and there was always breakfast served (that’s a plus!).
We also had 1-on-1 with the coordinator, where we were able to reserve time with her to talk about anything and everything. I found these really helpful during my journey in the program. It was one of the things I looked forward to. She’d give advice on any problems you may be having, look at building your resume, and just be there for you.
We got paired up with buddies, who were alumni of the program. It was a great part of the program because it was another resource, someone who already went through it and wanted to help you. I had a great buddy who was willing to share and make time for me.
We had to do informational interviews where we would interview people on campus that we had an interest in. I interviewed about 4 people and they were all amazing. I was so surprised that they even wanted to meet with me, and they were so generous with their time. From the informational interviews, we had to actually present them during the monthly workshops. So, we had to choose 1-2 people that we interviewed and give a presentation to the cohort.
One of the dreading parts of the program was doing a group presentation, mainly because I hate public speaking. Luckily, the topic was fun and the group I was in had a good time. But I am glad that’s over.
Lastly was the graduation, the celebration of the end. It was a 2-hour event and we had a keynote speaker. We presented a thank you speech and received a certificate of completion and a small gift.
Overall, when I first started the program, I thought it was never going to end. But now that it has, it felt like it went way too fast. I am going to miss the time out of the office. I had a truly amazing experience and I really enjoyed my time talking and meeting new people. This was something I never thought I would do because I am not used to going out there and challenging myself. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.