I’m not job searching this recruitment season, but it’s hard not to look, right? Our field does a great job of spreading news about exciting positions in even more exciting locations. Seeing all the options out there, it can be hard not to think the grass must be greener on someone else’s quad. But instead of lamenting what could be or what could have been, what if we use recruitment season as a way to fall back in love with the department we work for and the field we’re in?
I had the chance to serve on our department’s recruitment team and conduct interviews at the Southern Placement Exchange this past weekend. I was excited for the chance to serve the department in a new role, but as an extroverted introvert, I was a little worried that I’d grow tired of having the same conversation over and over and over again with candidates. I mean, how many different ways can you talk about your driving distance from major cities and what the culture of campus is like before you go completely bonkers? Well, I never hit my limit, because I completely loved the experience.
Now, overall it was a very exhausting weekend, I’m not going to lie, but it was a good type of exhausting. Every time a candidate asked me what my favorite thing about working for the school or the department are, I found myself genuinely overwhelmed with choices. It can be really easy for us to focus on the negative aspects of our work and environment, but being challenged to recall those positive components for the benefit of candidates is to our benefit as well. Especially if some of your favorite things are tied to a specific time of year, like orientation, it can be easy to forget come late January when you’re trudging through snow to turn in the third stack of paperwork that day. But sitting down and sharing those reflections with someone new is the perfect way to recall your experiences and revitalize yourself.
At SPE, I was part of a duo primarily responsible for interviewing candidates fresh out of undergrad, or at least just starting out in their graduate experiences. Having attended SPE as a candidate twice before, I know the process can be a little overwhelming, even if the conference may not be as big as some other placements. But having the chance to sit on the other side of the table and watch these individuals have what may be their first experience with Student Affairs on a larger level was an eyeopening experience.
A common part of the new professional narrative is definitely “I didn’t know this was something I could do as a career until so & so told me”. As much as I loved sharing what makes my department and institution special to me, I loved seeing the world of SA grow in the eyes of these young candidates. Seeing them connect their passions for helping and serving students to their own experiences being supported by SA professionals provides a testimony of the positive work we do.
With the Spring semester shaping up to be so hectic, it can be easy to feel stressed and struggle. But taking every opportunity you can to remember why we are where we are, and remind ourselves why we got involved with the crazy world of Student Affairs will go a long way to keep ourselves motivated over the next few months.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you fall in love with Student Affairs all over again!
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Alexandria, Doug, Emily, and Alexander, as they blog monthly about 1 year of their journey as either a new SA Pro or SA grad student. We are proud to help them share their stories as they break into our field.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Stacy Oliver-Sikorski on Professional Development