An Awesome Day in Student Affairs

Sometimes, it is tough to stop and appreciate the little things that make life fun and meaningful. Some days (every day) I am tired. Some days (every day) I have homework to do. Some days (every day) I get a little worried about finding a job.

But some days, the stars align and in spite of all of that, a series of awesome things happen. Today just happened to be one of those days. Today was a day that affirmed for me at every corner why I love what I’m doing. Nothing really mind-blowing or life-changing occurred, but waiting for major events to make you happy will never get  you anywhere. So here are the little reasons that today positively rocked.

  • Last night, I realized that today marks 100 days until graduation.
  • One of my student staff told me today that she is interested in going into higher education. Every time this happens, I feel I’m Peter Pan and a child is telling me that he or she believes in fairies.
  • I got a message from another student who I had previously met at a conference and who is coming to interview for my program (fairies are real, again).
  • I designed a promo slideshow video for the Kick Ass Facebook Challenge. I love making a creative advertisement for a creative program.
  • I had an awesome conversation with a first year student about improving her academic performance this semester. She reminded me of why I love working with first years and how much promise young people hold.
  • I’m on call and was excited to chat with the RAs when they called in for duty (this may be because I’m already in a good mood).
  • I’m going to a program hosted by one of my former RAs and one of my best friends tonight. Just because it sounds fun.

That’s all for now. But I think that it’s important to think about the good things that happen every day, and not get bogged down in the frustrating minutiae of our lives. After all, one good thing leads to another, and if we can embrace the positive, we have the potential to pass it on throughout the whole day.

Job Searching: Like an Extra Job that I Don’t Get Paid For (Yet)

My Google Calendar looks like a game of Tetris. I’m fairly convinced that the beginning of spring semester is so terribly busy because everyone at any given institution is refreshed, renewed, and ready to delegate, collaborate, (and by February, commiserate). January and February are a Student Affairs marathon: RA Recruitment and Selection, major new programs, events, and initiatives, recruitment for many student groups, presentations, conferences, retreats, grad program interview days, and so much more.

Don’t get me wrong, I down right love this stuff. I’m a human interaction junkie. But we all know that this time of year is completely exhausting. I am going to wake up some morning in March and have a student engagement hangover (this is characterized by a mild sinus infection and the sudden realization that I have an annotated bibliography due in 2 days).

And this year, for kicks, Job Searching has been tossed into the milieu of my life. Okay, it’s not really for kicks, it’s because I’m graduating and would very sincerely love to have gainful employment and a place to live.

THE JOB SEARCH (this is how I think of it, in all capital letters, also it’s in Sean Connery’s voice in my head) takes a considerable amount of time. Cover letters don’t write themselves? I can’t get a text alert every time a new job is posted? Whoopsies! If only this were the case, I wouldn’t be job searching during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But one month into THE JOB SEARCH, I am determined to be aggressive and invest as much time as possible, because this is really my future. Dual job searching makes things even more lovely and amusing; I am seriously considering putting a map up on the wall and noting his and hers application locations. At least I feel that my prioritizing and organizational skills gained during grad school have prepared me to orchestrate an intense job search.

Perhaps the silver lining is that I’m still very optimistic; after all, it’s still a bit early for rejections.

Things that are slightly scary about job searching…

Firstly, job searching in general is borderline terrifying. I am not going to take the opportunity (yet) to expound on the various stresses of finding employment. I would like to be more reflective about that and I’m not quite at that point yet.

However, here are some things that I do know about job searching. When completing online applications, hitting that “send” or “submit” button comes with a whole slew of stresses.

For example:

“Oh my god, did I upload that as a .doc? Or did I convert it to a .pdf? Let me check 12 times before submitting it”

“Did I attach all of my documents? (If using an HR system) Did I fill in all of the necessary fields?”

“Did I send the cover letter for the right position? I didn’t write that I have experience advising hall councils for the position with no hall council, right? Did I address the appropriate person? I will check the posting again another 4 times”

With that in mind, I’d like all of you fine people who have already been through this to share what the biggest challenge in your first job search was. If it was document upload anxiety, I might be in trouble.

One Word: Change

As a means of christening the New Year and, of course, keeping up with what’s hot in the Student Affairs Twittersphere, I’m choosing One Word to define my 2012. I am not going to lie and say that I do not have a resolution; I do. It is to use mouthwash twice everyday. “Mouthwash”, however, is not exactly what I expect will define my year. Although dental hygiene is very important and my mouth feels cleaner already.

What will likely define my year, however, is change. So Change is my One Word for 2012. I figure that is what is going to happen regardless, so I might as well choose it and own it before it sneaks up on me. As you know, I like change. I think that it’s important and I’m a big advocate for social change. But I think that my challenge this year is going to be embracing personal change. Like graduating, getting a job, moving away from my home for the past 6 years, being a grown up, and other very serious things of that nature.

So, there you have it. Change. The tide in my life is moving and I can either catch it or get all swept up and end up with seaweed in my hair and sand in my mouth….you get the picture.

About Me

I am a graduate student Higher Education and Assistant Community Coordinator for Residence Life at the University of Maine. I am interested in orientation and new student programs, residential education, first year student development, and diversity and social justice on college campuses, specifically related to social justice ally development, access to higher education, and transition and retention of traditionally underrepresented students.

I am also an active member of the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), as a Graduate Associate, Region I Conference intern, and member of the Maine Association for Student Affairs Professionals.  I enjoy sharing my love of the profession with aspiring undergraduates, increasing awareness of professional opportunities, and sharing knowledge with my peers.

I am a native Rhode Islander and adopted Mainer with a love for cooking, college hockey, and the outdoors. I am a proud Gamma Sigma Sigma alumna and a Black Bear at heart. My philosophy in life is to ask myself every day if I have helped someone.

This blog is the next step in my goal to use the online world to the best of my abilities in my work. I have gained incredibly from the online Student Affairs Communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and I am excited to take the next step with an official website of my own.

So, should you choose to follow my adventures here, what will you find? I can promise lots of insights about change and transition, loosely detailed chronicles of my job searching, musings on social justice, privilege, and oppression, the trials and tribulations of residence life and working with first year students, and anything else higher ed that crosses my path. A bit of a grab bag, isn’t it? You can’t blame me, though, because I’m the new kid. I’m still figuring this all out!