Through reading the book Beyond Meetings Lessons and Successes in Advising Student Organzations it caused me to reflect on my experience over this past semester in advising AS&F. I thought back to when I first came to Adams and how I was so ready to change students lives and shake things up within the organization. While as I tried to change things I realized that I was doing a disservice to not only my students but to myself. I was trying to change an organization that I had no knowledge of the interworkings as well as the culture of the university.
From this, I had to take a step back and really understand a few things about where I was working. One was to understand the culture of the Unversity and the organization. The second was understanding where I fit in as an advisor and as a person. The third was to the development my advisor style and figure out which style worked for my students and myself. Though I am still trying to figure things out my advisor style.
Looking back at the beginning of last semester I have grown within who I am as an advisor to my student organizations as well as build better relationships with my students. Though this growth I have been able to help my students challenge different norms of the organization and to try and think outside of the box for different goals which have caused for them to grow as well as our organization which makes me SUPER proud of them.
But the major take away is that when going into a new Student Affairs positions get to know the organization, the institution and the students before trying to make changes.
Reflecting on The Strategic Guide to Shaping Your Student Affairs Career, it made me think about my journey so far into Student Affairs. Why I became interested in the field of Student Affairs, How my networking skills are okay but still developing and where I see myself in the future. For me, before taking this position I had many conversations with my mentors and other student affairs professional at my alma mater about the topics that this book talked about. At that time I felt that I knew all I could about what I wanted to do as a career and how to get there. But after reading the book the chapters brought new meaning to my prior knowledge about Student Affairs as well as myself. This book caused me to take a step back and really reflect on what I have been doing for both my professional and personal development and ways that I can improve that process.
Throughout the book, the question that I kept asking myself was why do I want to be in Student Affairs? I kept coming back to the answers of one being a representative of my community since there is not a large population of people of color in Student Affairs. I feel that for students of colors it’s good to see someone that looks like them in an administrative position and knowing that they have someone there that will understand somewhat they are going through and someone that will support them and help develop them. Something else that comes up for me is to be the voice of under representative populations on a college campus. I feel that because as the next generation of students goes into their undergraduate careers they are going to be coming with a lot of diversity. As Student Affairs professional I feel that you need to be able to stand up for them and be a resource for them throughout their collegiate years. Another question that came up for me is what I do bring to the table as a new professional. This is a question that I feel is going to take me some more time to answer because I feel that I am still trying to figure that out. But I feel that at the end of this gap year internship I will better know how to answer that question.