Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Updates - RA Retreat

Hello All!  So I know I've been posting a lot of "I've been out of town so I'll give you a quick update and post pictures later" lately, so I'm going to remedy that situation by doing a few "Weekend Updates" with pictures galore!  So, here's the first one about a weekend that seems like it happened eons ago - the EDCO Retreat!  I'm sure you're all wondering what "EDCO" is, so here's a quick overview.

EDCO stands for "Education Counseling" and the course title is "The Process of Paraprofessional Counseling for Young Adults."  This class is required in order to become an RA.  Since I thought I might someday want to become an RA, I decided to take the class and see how it went.  Going into the class, I actually had very little idea about what we would cover in EDCO so I kind of just assumed it would be things useful to an RA like conflict management.  Honestly, the class has turned out to be so much more than just job training for the RA position and has covered so many great life skills.  We've talked about everything from interview skills to general conflict management.  We've also covered crisis counseling and a bunch of different student development theories.  In addition to the class itself, we also attended a 3-day retreat at a campsite in Malibu.  In case you're wondering why all the celebrities go to Malibu, one girl in my class snapped this a few amazing photographs on the way:

It's so beautiful! Unfortunately our camp didn't have a view of the water since we inland in the hills, but we still got to breathe some beautiful ocean air (quite different from the smog called LA air).

We were assigned the color "yellow" and we came up with the theme the "aMAIZEing" yellow team.  It was really quite corny, but it's okay, because we were poppin'! (haha!  okay, so maybe crickets are chirping - we thought it was super clever!)  Here we are acting out our "corny" ways:

And a slightly more normal group picture:

Over the course of the weekend we did tons of diversity and team-building activities and our class really bonded.  Most of the weekend was devoted towards understanding the identities of others and self-discovery.  I've always been interested in getting to know more about other people and understanding where they come from so I really enjoyed the weekend.

On the topic of EDCO, we had our last class this Tuesday (*sniffle*).  I also already had my final for that class (although the finals are continuing this week, I just so happened to have mine on the first day).  Since the class is officially about paraprofessional counseling, our final is a 12 minute counseling session then a 15 minute discussion where we get back our final response logs and discuss how the class was in general.  In addition, our instructor also tells us their opinion of how they've seen us do in the class and the recommendation they will be sending in with our RA application.  For the counseling portion, an "actor" (just a current RA) comes to us with a situation and we are supposed to use our skills to find out more about the situation and help the student work towards a solution.  I was SO nervous going in because counseling someone is such a big responsibility and I had no idea what the scenario was going to be about.  In class we've talked about how to respond to all different kinds of scenarios from trivial roommate conflicts to more serious issues at home and even suicide.  Of course, in my mind I was imagining the worst possible scenario and thinking that I would have no idea how to respond.  It ended up being a more common scenario then the types I was fearing and it actually went really well!

Furthermore, my instructor really encouraged me to apply for the RA position and said she was strongly recommending me.  (yah!)  It was funny when she asked me where I was considering being an RA I mentioned Southside, then she asked me more specifically, "have you considered an academic community?"  I answered, "Yes, I've been considering the WiSE [women in science and engineering] floor" and my instructor responded "oh good!  On your recommendation I wrote 'WiSE' with three exclamation points!"  It made me really happy so see that she also thought that would be a good fit for me and that she was so supportive of my application!

Anywho, we've already started to plan our EDCO reunions.  Mostly though since it's so difficult to get a whole class of 21 people together, we just send each other facebook messages about events and hang out with whoever can show up.  Our first "mini-reunion" was this weekend going to the women's volleyball game.  Surprisingly, I've never actually been to a volleyball game even though I love volleyball and wish that I had played in high school.  But to be quite honest, I've only ever gone to football games and just a couple basketball games.  It's truly sad, I know, given that USC has such amazing sports teams!  Anywho, they were giving out free Shady Peeps at the game Friday night so I had to go!  Shady Peeps are the "Official Sun Glasses of the USC Trojans" and are pretty much all the rage on campus right now.  Check them out by clicking here!  For all my LSU fans out there, you'll be happy to see that Shady Peeps also offers some sick LSU sunglasses (I can't say if they are as popular on LSU's campus as they are at USC though)!  Check them out here!  I was hoping they would have the red frames with yellow lenses, but apparently those are for basketball season so they were passing out the yellow frames with red lenses.  Here's a pic of me looking super fly in my peeps:

The game was really exciting too!  I was so impressed by how well our team worked together and they really set the pace the whole game.  Oregon was constantly scrambling to save points while USC was consistently setting up spikes and getting some pretty awesome kills.

Anywho, that's it for EDCO.  Look forward to more coming up about my weekend at Kim's wedding next!

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