If student affairs
is your path, spoiler alert:
where you work matters.
We have arrived at the second reflection of the year, and with that I don’t just mean for these blog posts, but total. Okay, I might be exaggerating (definitely am) but in a way reflecting to write this has helped me be more intentional about my reflections. Instead of letting my mind wander aimlessly (which by the way, inevitably leads to singing showtunes), reading the books and thinking about how what each one covers is applicable to me has helped me remain on course with my reflections. This does not mean that I have found all the answers, but it just feels more productive and I feel better after.
As I began reading, and thus reflecting on “Where you Work Matters” I started to feel a little anxious.I have known for a while that all colleges are different and that each one has its own culture. I also knew that in order to have some sort of fulfillment from my job I needed to be some place where I connected, that aligned with my values and that placed importance on things that I consider most important and dear. However, I had never gone about trying to materialize what this would look like. I had always just assumed I’d look at job descriptions and look into the mission and vision of the institution and that would be it. I never considered how the fact that there are different types of institutions might affect how student affairs departments function at each one based on type (I know, what was I thinking). Reading about the types, and the perspectives of SA pros who work in the different institutions has been a good start in thinking about where I want to end up. I think that I need to do further exploration, and hopefully that can be through experience, because while I enjoyed reading this and felt it had a lot of useful information, it did not make me feel like inclining in any particular direction. It just made me realize how many options there are out there, and I don’t think I’d be content with picking a path without further exploration that includes some experience. I mean, this is a big decision! Committing to an institution where you will spend your golden years, it’s a big a decision as marriage! (again, maybe exaggerating but you get what I’m saying).
I have already had the opportunity to start on this exploration journey, by experiencing different types of institution during my undergrad and now. My undergraduate school was more research type and bigger than Adams. There were many “branches” of student life, many resources and a lot of specialization from the professional staff. As big as my undergraduate school was, it was not very diverse so when I was doing my research on Adams I was very excited to find out it was an HSI. From being here for a couple of months already, I can see how the nature of the work and the way people relate to each other differs. I can see the benefits of working at both types of institutions, in general and for myself, and I have yet to find a something big I dislike that would make me not want to remain at an institution like Adams. I still have the rest of the year to keep learning as much as I can, and I am looking forward to it!