Things I’ve Learned at UW-Whitewater

Friday will bring to a close the 3 year adventure that has been graduate school at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. While I graduated a few weeks ago, I’ve been wrapping things up at my graduate assistantship at Career & Leadership Development (CLD). I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the things I’ve learned during my time at UWW.

1. You can never have too much purple in your life.

2. Not everyone plays nice in the sandbox and sometimes you just have to work with that (or throw a little sand of your own) (aka: speak up and stand up for yourself because no one else will).

3. Find the people who are genuinely interested in who you are as a person, as a professional, and where you want to go in life. When you find said person – make them your mentor!

4. If your graduate assistantship isn’t quite what you wanted or needed, don’t be afraid to have a chat with the boss. They just might be willing to change up some things for you. (Thanks Ron!)

5. You have to be able to deal with extraneous noise and still be able to get your work done. (oh the joys of having an office in the University Center (aka: the Union)) I will admit that I don’t always succeed at this.

6. Be willing to try new things. I starting blogging and tweeting because of my time at UWW and wanting to expand my horizons.

7. Trust the Process! This was essentially the mantra of my graduate program. We were all training to be counselors of some sort so you’d think we’d understand that everything is a “process.” Some days it was hard to “trust the process” when we couldn’t see what our outcomes would be. Trusting the process is what allows us to take leaps of faith (such as when I decided to move out to Oregon last summer based on some phone calls, emails, and online research…best leap of faith…ever!).

8. Take advantage of professional development opportunities whether local or not. I had the fortunate opportunity to attend WI-ACE twice, WCPA twice, and the ACPA National Conference this past March. Beyond attending the conferences, I started to get involved in the organizations. At WCPA, I was part of a group that won the Grad Student Case Study Competition last fall (we were given a scenario and then had to present and justify what we would do in that situation). At ACPA, I was selected to be an Ambassador (we had to apply and then they chose who they thought would best represent the future of the organization). I also have connected with other student affairs professionals and grad students through social media.

9. Every student affairs professional is NOT meant to work in every student affairs function area. I can safely say that I would not fair well in conduct or residence life. For conduct, I did that job and it just wasn’t for me. For residence life, I refuse to live where I work, bottom line. More power to the individuals who do these jobs!

10. Lunch time can be an awesome way to connect with co-workers about things other than work. I’ve loved having lunch with my co-workers in our conference room (or outside when it’s nice) and I think it’s one of the things I’ll miss most about working at CLD.

So, to my co-workers at Career & Leadership Development: thank you.

  • Thank you for teaching me what it means to be an outstanding student affairs professional.
  • Thank you for allowing me to take chances.
  • Thank you for teaching me about what you do in your roles and educating me further about the real world of student affairs.
  • Thank you for showing me that even when things don’t necessarily go our way that we should still do the best work we can.
  • Thank you for making me laugh with your crazy stories…or bad jokes. 🙂
  • Thank you for being a part of my graduate school adventure.
  • Thank you for letting me be a part of your own life adventures.
  • Thank you for 3 years of constant challenge and support! I won’t forget any of you for a very long time.  
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