‘Tis student affairs
Beginning Your Journey, Man
Yo, sounds like a dream.
Reading “Beginning Your Journey” has been, for lack of a better word, a journey in and of itself. When I first got the book there was a mix of emotions happening. On one hand I was very excited to dive in and absorb all the information I could, but on the other hand I had this mini crisis where the path that I have chosen for my life felt real. For some reason, having a book called “Beginning Your Journey” in my hands gave my decision a sense of finality. I had to take some time to think about what my journey was, where was I in it and what it would look like from here. As soon as I began reading the panicky side that had surfaced began to calm down, as I discovered in the first chapter (and kept reading in later chapters as well) that concerns are common even if not everyone has the same ones, everyone has some.
There are many things that I have learned from reading this book, and some of them I feel like I have known all along but reading them in a book about starting a professional journey in student affairs just brought their importance to mind. The biggest one for me in this sense, was a common thread throughout the book: starting with yourself. I have a history of overlooking this little detail, so I appreciated that it was brought up in different chapters. I already knew self care was important since I have heard it before but reading about how it’s important for different things made me want to take a harder look at myself and actually do it. With assessments for example, it is important to assess your own work and progress. I have not done a very good job at this in the past, but as I said before, it has now been brought to mind and I will try harder to improve at this. Another common thread in the book that similarly was something I knew, but it’s been made present is relying on other people. This is something that I also have not been very good at in the past, but I realize its importance. Making connections is crucial for many aspects of our journey, from having someone that can help us navigate the career or a new environment to just having someone who can be there when you need to talk. This is the most challenging for me, being vulnerable enough to lean on others for support and trust that they will not let me fall. I recognize however, it is even more challenging and maybe not even possible to go through this journey alone and that requires some vulnerability from my part.
Perhaps the most interesting thing that I learned by reading this book was to begin thinking about each institution and even departments as their own culture. I found myself thinking more and more about this, and even though it may not be the exactly the same as immersing oneself in a new culture there are some similarities that come to mind. For example the different terminology in the two institutions I have been a part of can be compared to the different slang terms I had to learn when I first came to America. Having this lens of looking at each institution as a new culture will have certain advantages as I will be able to apply similar methods of absorbing each new culture, and more than anything it will be interesting to see how each culture is unique.
All in all this book has been a great way to get started with this year of readings. It seems like the perfect book to always have at your bedside and revisit as time goes by, I feel like it is kind of like a journal that you did not write but it has some sense of familiarity to it, it seems like something future you wrote and sent back in time for you.
P.S: Please enjoy my (poor) first attempt at a haiku in the beginning, I think I will be writing one for each post!