What began as an on-campus job in Emmanuel's student center transformed into a new career path for Jessie, one that brought her to Harvard University as a master's candidate in higher education administration.
Joy Houlder '19 has always "gravitated toward people," and her Emmanuel College journey so far reflects that.
As she looked toward her sophomore year, an interest in mediation and community-building inspired her to become a Resident Assistant (RA) in Loretto Hall, her own home away from home during her first year at Emmanuel.
"I really wanted to work with first-year students. Students who are a few years older are more settled and have everything a bit more together than students who are new to college," she said. "I wanted to be a resource for my residents. I love talking with them and that they feel comfortable coming to me with their problems or concerns."
One of their main concerns? How to find their niche in a new environment.
"Residents have come to me a lot with questions about fitting in," she said. "I'm very repetitive; I always tell them, 'Give it time.' It took me a couple of months to figure it out and find my place, but it will happen. Honestly, give it time."
iving on campus and being so close to the countless events and activities that take place every day gave Joy the opportunity to meet many of her peers and to join many different clubs and organizations-some she never expected.
"After hearing about the Ukulele Club, I thought, 'That might be something I'd like to do,'" she said. "It's been really fun; we perform around the city at different group homes and retirement homes and deliver Christmas- and Valentine-grams in the residence halls."
Joy has also served as the Public Relations Officer for the Black Student Union (BSU)—a position for which she learned the ins and outs of connecting virtually, as she keeps her personal life free of social media. When she has time, between her RA duties, her job as a front desk assistant in Loretto Hall and her club engagement, she tries to experience new things, such as learning about cultures different from her own through the Asian Student Association or staying active with the EC Swim Club, Zumba Club and Chapel Choir.
In the classroom, Joy plans to develop her strengths in making connections as a psychology major with a concentration in counseling and health. A talented artist with a minor in studio art, her goal is to become an art therapist, and she hopes to find an internship with one of the Fenway neighborhood's many hospitals or healthcare organizations.
"I came to Emmanuel because I wanted to be surrounded by the city and all of the opportunities that are right outside the gates," she said. "I have a bike that takes me everywhere I need to go. I love being right in Boston, but on a quiet campus. I never feel overwhelmed by the buzz of the city, but I know it's all steps away. It's a really happy medium."