I got really excited yesterday when I saw the Blog Prompt Monday topic over on the Student Affairs Women Talk Tech website: my best day in student affairs.
We want to hear all about that day the student you helped stay in school their first year later came to tell you thank you when they were graduating. Or how that colleague you mentored got the job you knew was perfect for them. Tell us all about the day that is the epitome of why you do what you do.
When I started thinking more about the topic throughout the day, I honestly could not pick just one day as my best day. I think each day has its ups and downs and that the best part of student affairs is the moment of a day that shines above all the others. Some days, that moment is with a student and on other days, it is with colleagues or even all by myself. The overarching reason I work in student affairs is that I love helping students realize their dreams and to help them figure out plans to achieve those dreams. The moments that rock my world are things such as: when a student leaves my office realizing it’s not the end of the world they don’t know what to major in yet and has the resources to start working on that decision; when that same student returns to my office excited that they’ve declared their major and are ready to start figuring out the next step; to see a student face their fears and anxieties and conquer talking to employers during a career fair; when a student lets me know they’ve received an interview or job offer; or when I receive an email simply saying thank you. I could go on and on. What I’m excited about is that I’m truly only in the first year of my profession (not counting grad school at the moment). There are so many stories and moments that I don’t know about yet, that I am sure will rock my world.
I have had moments with colleagues that show me I have chosen the right profession for me. Moments such as: working with my grad school friends to earn first place in a case study competition at a state conference; attending the ACPA national convention in Baltimore; or having mentors rip apart my resume and cover letter because they wanted others to see in me the way they did. Some of my best SA moments were actually by myself. My favorite alone moment was when I visited UMD for the first time, the evening before my interview. I knew then, that I found my home. I belonged at UMD and now it was my job to rock my interview.
What I’ve learned is to cherish the moments and to bring those moments out when I’m not having the best day to remind myself why I do what I do. The “moments” have also taught me that I will always be a student. However, I also now get to be a teacher.