As I sit on my second flight home from Tampa within the course of less than a month, I feel tired yet refreshed at the same time.
Within the time of 3 weeks I was able to attend not 1 but 2 national conferences. During those conferences I was able to meet so many different people while developing my student affairs identity in one organization and beginning my identity within the other. The best part was that I was able to represent one organization at the other national conference I attended. It is amazing how professional identities intertwine.
At the same time, this is where I thank my current institution for giving me the opportunity to be a #SApro that does a little bit of everything, because although it may be exhausting, I am able to relate to all aspects of my field and add to the conversation. At #ASCA15, the annual national conference for the Association of Student Conduct Administrators, I was able to engage with my fellow #stuconduct professionals and have conversations about topics which were tough yet necessary. I was able to serve on the extended conference committee and am now proudly serving on the leadership development committee as the new professional representative for the next year. What does that mean? I’m giving back to the organization but also slowly making a name for myself within ASCA.
On the hand, at #ACPA2015 (the annual national conference for the American College Personnel Association), I came in like a bright eyed graduate student eager to learn about the organization and how I could become involved. I attended sessions but I took the time to just network and learn from those around me. But I also engaged in various conversations about student affairs and higher education since the organization has a broader focus than ASCA.
I left both conferences exhausted but with the feeling that I was beginning to put myself out there. How? By using not only my skills, knowledge and networking as a new professional but also by using the support mechanisms around me. Who are these support mechanisms? Simply put they are the Ed Cabellons and Jason Meriwethers of our field. These two individuals have taken the time to give back to me in my journey so much, even with their busy schedules. Why? Because they can and feel they must. I can text, call, or email whenever I want to gain guidance or support. The only thing I can’t do is doubt myself. I am forever grateful to them and blessed to have them in my life.
But I am beginning to become a source of support and guidance for others in the field and the feeling is humbling. I am speechless. So what’s the point of my ramblings? Go to conferences and make a brand for yourself there. Enjoy the conversations, the sessions, the food, and mostly the people, because we are everywhere. #SApros are taking over and more of us get into the field every day. You are never alone unless you want to be and your family never forgets about you.
As I continue my journey into March I look forward to the #NASPA15 conference and my whirl-wind day journey to New Orleans. I continue to be thankful for all the opportunities that are coming my way and work towards making more magic for myself and those around me. I am on my way and continue uphill with the assistance of others as I need it.
What are you doing to make a brand for yourself in student affairs?
**If you do not already do this please follow @edcabellon and @jlmeriwether06 on Twitter. You won’t regret it.**
> BONUS <
Podcast With Stacy Oliver-Sikorski on Professional Development