This post is a re-posting of a piece I wrote for the ACPA Unconference blog.
Here’s a link to the original posting: ACPA = People + Opportunity
My 2011 ACPA convention experience was somewhat magical. I arrived in Baltimore having just finished signing on the line accepting my first professional position as a career counselor. I was almost finished with graduate school and I thought, what could make life better at this point in time? Engaging in the experience of my first national conference made life better. I attended sessions, met Twitter friends in real life, went to socials, served with other graduate students as an ACPA Ambassador, and embraced what Baltimore had to offer. I figured I probably wouldn’t be returning to ACPA at the national level for a while and I absorbed as much as I could in a very short amount of time. Once I returned home, I kept my Baltimore experience alive. I had decided to be more in B’more.
Fast forward to November 2011, and I’m thinking seriously about wanting to return to the ACPA National Convention. While I was putting together my proposal to attend, I thought about what it meant to me to be a part of ACPA and to return to the conference. For me, the answer came down to two things: people and opportunity. My experiences with ACPA thus far on the national level, state level, and the internet have all involved exposure and engagement with solid, good people. These are the kind of people who encourage me to be a great professional and to serve the students I work with each day. ACPA also means opportunity. Opportunity to be a part of the conversation. Opportunity to meet new people. Opportunity to take time to reflect on my work. Opportunity to learn new things to take back to my institution. Opportunity to continue to grow in the Student Affairs profession. I fully intend to take advantage of these opportunities.
I have the good fortune to be returning to my second ACPA national convention with my trip to Louisville. I’m excited to be approaching the conference from experienced perspective. I feel more comfortable with pushing myself outside my comfort zone. If you are also at the conference, I hope we get to meet! You can tweet me ahead of time or while at the conference at @Ellen_Hatfield. You can find me on LinkedIn, if that is how you like to network. I also have a blog where I write about being a new professional in Student Affairs and about living life in Northern Minnesota.