5 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU ANALYZE YOUR CAREER PATH IN STUDENT AFFAIRS

Most of us come into student affairs through some happy accident. Quite often, we were engaged as student-leaders and somehow discovered that we could get paid to do similar work.  My foray into student affairs came through athletics where I started as an assistant coach/hall director at a small private liberal arts college in Kansas. At the time I was going on the track to being a head coach. After a few years, athletic director seemed like a better fit. A few years after that I was just confused about what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to stay in student affairs, I just wasn’t sure where I fit in. It wasn’t until a mentor of mine posed these five questions to me that I was able to focus in on what I wanted and was able to make clearer career choices.

Question 1: Do you have any experience not related to your undergraduate interests? In other words, are you getting out of your comfort zone. I came into student affairs because of my experiences in athletics and helping to manage a fraternity house. I hadn’t done much outside of the athletic space. For me I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a position in academic advising to gauge fit and to expand my knowledge. This would prove to be critical experience for me years later when I ventured out of athletics and into graduate student success work. Continue reading “5 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU ANALYZE YOUR CAREER PATH IN STUDENT AFFAIRS”

3 STRATEGIES TO FIND A BETTER FIT BETWEEN YOURSELF AND YOUR JOB

*Originally published in NASPA New Professionals and Graduate Students Newsletter

Student affairs work is great. I have always found it interesting, challenging, and rewarding. There are a multitude of job types within our profession that require different skillsets and abilities. As diverse the working world of student affairs is, finding the right job for you can be difficult. A job may seem fantastic on paper but once we start doing it….well we may quickly regret our choice. Conversely, we may agree to a job or project that we think is not ideal and discover that we love it. Six years ago, I would have never considered working with graduate students and yet I now find myself enjoying everything working with that population brings. Moreover, I also enjoy the culture of working in a graduate school and have found it is largely a better fit as it relates to both my professional and work-life needs. I was fortunate to find my optimal fit. To help you find optimal fit on your professional journey, here are three types of fit you need to consider during your career. These fits can help you in your current roles as much as it can during a job search. Continue reading “3 STRATEGIES TO FIND A BETTER FIT BETWEEN YOURSELF AND YOUR JOB”

3 Work-Life Tips For Student Affairs Professionals to Start the Academic Year

Hooray! It’s August/September and the students are coming back to campus and that means for those of us in student affairs, we are as the French would say, “le busy.”

Most of us expect this time of year to be filled with orientations, welcome, and all sorts of amazing programs. We expect ourselves to be busy this time of year (which is good) but in that hustle and bustle we have to make sure we don’t continue or repeat negative work-life habits.

To help ensure you are at optimum work-life, here are 3 simple tips for you to consider as you begin the academic year.

Continue reading “3 Work-Life Tips For Student Affairs Professionals to Start the Academic Year”

The Work-Life War that Needs to End and How Managers Can End It (Part II)

 

Last week I discussed the tension that exists in the workplace between employees with children vs those without.  You can read last week’s blog before continuing here if you wish to get a deeper understanding.  If not, then what is important to note is that in the discussion of work-life issues the animosity between the two groups mentioned is often a byproduct of poor communication and a workplace culture that gives advantages to one group over the other.  Managers are at the center of this battle and in some cases are fueling the fight.

Here are 6 simple suggestions to help managers ease the tension.   They are not all encompassing but they will help.

Continue reading “The Work-Life War that Needs to End and How Managers Can End It (Part II)”

4 Ways to Truly Appreciate Graduate Students All Year Round

This week marks the end Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (GPSAW) across the country.  Although I am biased, graduate and professional students are a significant part of the campus ecosystem. Graduate students serve as instructors, administrators (a 20 hr. a week Grad Assistant is just a ½ employee in my book), innovate thought, and add a more mature dynamic on our campuses.

Taking time to celebrate, thank, acknowledge, and pamper grad students is something all campuses should have done this week. But what happens after this week? Do we go back to forgetting them and focusing on undergraduates again? I hope not. Here are 4 suggestions you can implement on your campus to make sure graduate students are appreciated and heard beyond the free donuts, massages, and swag that comes with GPSAW.

Continue reading “4 Ways to Truly Appreciate Graduate Students All Year Round”

3 False Assumptions About Graduate Student Leaders

There is an underlying assumption that graduate student leaders do not need much support because they are more mature and experienced than undergraduate leaders. Although this may be true in some cases, this notion is based on 3 faulty assumptions. It should be noted that these assumptions are often subtly embedded in our structures and activities vs overt attempts to limit the graduate student leader experience.  In other words, campuses don’t mean to limit this experience but sometimes do so without realizing it mainly because they buy into one or all of these false assumptions. The assumptions are: Continue reading “3 False Assumptions About Graduate Student Leaders”