Experiences Part V: Senior Year

My senior year was the first time I had ADHD treatment. I learned more in one year than I did in my previous three years combined.

This post is part five in a five part series.

Vice President of IEEE Branch

Location: UW Stout
Dates: Fall 2015 to Fall 2016

Fall 2016 was my final semester as Vice President. We decided that executive members should step down at least a semester before graduating. This allowed us to be around to support the new board and answer questions. We had a large general board and many workshop coordinators that were designing and teaching workshops. Life was a lot less stressful and IEEE was far more successful.

What I loved:

  • Seeing the progress we made
  • Public speaking and presentations
  • Leadership and management

Skills I Gained:

  • Leadership: setting team goals and plans to reach them
  • Teamwork: as we got bigger, this became more important
  • Communication: I learned to express my ideas more clearly
  • Listening: it's important to understand what people mean, not just what they say
  • Delegation: assigning tasks based on a person's strengths and interests

Student Manager

Location: CEE Lab at UW Stout
Dates: October 2016 to May 2017

When I began, our lab was VERY disorganized. We didn't know when students skipped shifts. Our back room was a mess and often locked. Our front window was padlocked and the key was missing. We had no opening or closing procedures, so students sometimes left the door to the lab unlocked or wide open. We kept track of check-ins in a binder that most people forgot to use.

As student manager, I wrote opening/closing procedures, met with faculty, wrote applications, interviewed candidates, lead the software development project, and many other tasks. At first, I struggled because I tried to do everything at once. Over time, I learned to prioritize and accomplished a lot more.

My supervisor, Alex, was hired a month after I was. Once he was hired, everything became easier. He purchased things we needed, gave us access to the backroom and front window, and helped us turn the lab into what it is today.

What I loved:

  • Getting management experience
  • Building technical skills
  • Getting to make decisions
  • Flexibility
  • Building systems from ground up
  • Learning new things
  • Using Linux
  • Working with people
  • My supervisor and coworkers
  • Never ran out of things to do
  • Wide variety of tasks
  • Building leadership skills

Skills I Gained:

  • Organization: EVERYTHING was disorganized
  • Initiative: As student manager, it was my job to do things without being asked
  • Prioritizing: There was A LOT to do, so this was important
  • Leadership: Setting organizational goals and creating steps to reach them
  • Management: Scheduling tutors, addressing complaints, writing procedures
  • PHP: I was an absolute beginner, this is what our check-in website is written in
  • MySQL: This was my first experience with databases
  • Linux: Specifically setting up a web server with LAMP stack
  • Excel: We made a sheet to track student check-ins. Students swiped their ID.
  • Software Development: Designing the tracking system was challenging
  • HTML/CSS: Despite knowing these since middle school, I learned a lot


Location: CEE Lab at UW Stout
Dates: October 2016 to May 2017

May 2017 (and even well into the summer) I wasn't sure if I would graduate Summer 2017 or Fall 2017. Either way, I knew that I would be living in Minnesota rather than Wisconsin Fall 2017. It became clear that it would be better if I was a tutor for Fall 2017. However, I'm still leading our software development project.

This semester, we have students coming in for tutoring and to use the lab equipment. I've tutored at least one or two students every shift I've had. It's amazing to see how much the CEE lab has changed in just a year.

What I love:

  • Building technical skills
  • Getting to make decisions
  • Flexibility
  • Helping students learn
  • My supervisor and coworkers
  • Always something to do
  • Working with Linux

Skills I'm Building:

  • PHP: Today, I'm much more confident in PHP and I'm continuing to grow
  • MySQL: This is a lot less challenging than I had believed
  • Linux: Specifically configuring and managing a web server with LAMP stack
  • Tutoring: Most often I am tutoring Circuit Analysis
  • Software Development: Designing the back-end our tracking system
  • HTML/CSS: This is easy for me, but each day I learn more and more about what they can do


This year taught me that I love challenges and jobs where I can make an impact. My ideal job would have multiple projects. My dream career would also involve management and customer service.

Read the conclusion of the series here.

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