The NACCU Intern's Perspective

Positive IDentity Blog ,

Posted By Ellie Stroh, NACCU Intern

Four years ago, I was attending a large university in the state I grew up visiting. This school meant a great deal to me, and I was extremely proud to be attending. During summer orientation, I received my campus ID that I proceeded to show all of my friends and family once I returned home. This card was more than a “piece of plastic” to me; it made me feel that I belonged and was a part of something. As a freshman, this card was my lifeline because I used it to eat, enter into my dorm, rent books at the library, access the recreation center, and to attend games and events. Not only did the card office provide students with their campus IDs but they also provided students with endless resources and many fun events to attend where free university gear was given out. I did not realize it then, but the card office aided the university in creating school pride amongst incoming and returning students. Many times, I found myself emailing or calling the card office, and they always gave me the support and resources I needed. This school paved a great foundation for me to meet many new friends, succeed in my classes, and grow living independently away from my family.

Unfortunately, after one semester I decided to leave this school due to changing majors. I returned home and went to community college for a year and a half before attending a new university. When transferring to this university, I had high expectations due to the previous university I attended. To my dismay, the experience was quite different from my first school. Because I was a transfer student, I did not receive the welcome experience that the freshman received. It was already difficult enough leaving a school that felt like home to me but coming to a new school and feeling like I had to figure everything out for myself was challenging. Due to not having as many resources at my new school I felt it was much more difficult for me to navigate the campus, meet new friends, and feel like this place was home.

After two years at this school, I graduated but still found myself being connected to my freshman year university. I still communicate with my friends I made there and continue to visit and support the school that made me feel at home. The sense of belonging I felt after one semester at my first school was much stronger than how I felt towards my second school even after attending for two years.

Now being an Intern for NACCU, I am amazed at how much a card office does for their school most of the time with few staff members. Going through two totally different experiences with both universities has led me to the realization that the card office sets the tone for their school. Now that I am a post-grad, I can honestly say that the past four years have been extremely exciting but also difficult. During college many students go through so many changes academically, socially, and mostly within themselves. Everyone wants to feel like they belong, and for me that all started with a “piece of plastic”.

Ellie Stroh has served as a NACCU Intern since May. She recently graduated with a degree in marketing from an urban institution in the Midwest, and is currently seeking a full-time position.