20something profile: Melissa
My first year of college, I didn’t finish. We were on the quarter system, and I’d failed two math classes in a row, and my financial aid was taken away. I was unhappy with the school I was at, I wasn’t sure about my program, and a week into my third quarter, I decided to go home.
I still remember pulling my suitcases down from the storage above my closet, and only one person said anything to me. Only one person, one of my next door neighbors, asked me what I was doing. I spoke to my RA after I was already packed and half of my things were in my mother’s car.
I met my Resident Director for the first time when I was moving out. I called my closest friend there, met him in the library, and told him I was leaving, and then I left. I drove across the state, settled back into the room I spent high school in, and three months later started going to the community college.
I tell you this because it led me to my career. After a mentor introduced me to Student Affairs, I realized it was the place where I could make sure that no student I came in contact with went through what I went through.
After my graduation in May 2011 (I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences), I spent a year working in Residential Living at a private, Catholic college. The thing I loved the most about working there was the students that I was working with, but I wanted more from my career, so after a year, I moved across the country to pursue a Master’s of Education in College Student Personnel.
My career is really just beginning. I graduate in 14 weeks, and am currently deep in the job search process. I’m scared — okay, terrified — because this will really be the first time I’m heading into a full-time job with no plans of going back to school for a while. One day I want to go back and get my PhD so that I can either work for the Department of Education or run my own College Student Personnel program.
I want college to be a place where people can go to learn about more than a career. I want it to be a place where people can learn about life and who they are and how to be the best people they can become. I want it to be a place where people can learn about being contributing members of society — whatever that means to them.
If I could be anything right now, I’d be a personal coach for college students. I’d sit with them in coffee shops and we’d talk about life and love and their future and how they can make college work best for them. It’s important to me that I’m able to help people be all that I know they are able to be.
For now, I write to and for college students and twenty-somethings at my blog, Melissa Boles (http://melissaboles.com/). I share bits of who I am and the things that I have learned, and am learning, as I move through my life journey. And I hope that one day, something I write will let someone know that where they’re at is exactly where they’re supposed to be.