Story of Sharon Hale
Sharon Hale used to think she wanted to work for the U.N. or the Peace Corps where she would go out into the world to help people. She wanted to see different countries, experience different cultures, and make the world a better place along the way. That was her dream. Now that she is retiring, she has looked back over the years and realized that while her career did not follow that path, she did follow her dream. At the Office of International Affairs (OIA) as an International student counselor, Sharon got to interact with people from all over the world, and as she learned about their backgrounds, she helped them work towards their futures. “It was tremendously fulfilling and I did it all right here, in Lubbock, TX”, she says.
Q. What has your experience at the OIA been like?
“Serving as an International Student Advisor has been a true honor. My dream job! Every day, after a packed schedule of helping students with immigration issues and documents, helping them navigate through the US educational system, and deal with the challenges of being away from their homes and families, right before I would rush home to take care of my own family, I would look around my office and reflect on the beautiful keepsakes the international students had given me over the years. These were not just tokens of appreciation. They were symbols of their countries, glimpses into their worlds. I treasured each and every one of them. And as I would walk past the globe in our lobby on my way out, it reminded me of how small the world really is and how blessed I was to have experienced it in my own unique way.”
Q. What are your plans after retirement?
“In many ways I am reluctant to leave, as I enjoy the excitement of the job and all the people I encounter every day. But I look forward to spending more time with my husband, kids, and grandkids. And maybe I will get to see a bit of the world after all. My middle daughter, who lives in NYC and travels internationally, is already planning my first post-retirement trip. She tells me we are going to China to walk on the Great Wall, tour the Forbidden City, see the Terracotta Warriors, and even visit a panda breeding center. Next up, India, and then maybe Russia!”
Q. What will you take with you from your 35 years of work experience?
“No matter what I do or where I go, I will never forget my time at Tech and the incredible journey I have had. As I leave, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to my Office of International Affairs colleagues for their unending support. And to the international students – you say that I helped you, and I am so glad for whatever I could do to ease your path. But the truth is, you helped me realize my dream. And I will be forever grateful.”
Written and edited by: Jane Bell
Posted date: 07/14/2014