I feel the need to preface this post with the disclaimer that, yes, I am an #SAPro and, yes, I really enjoy it! I don’t mean to imply that it is a bad thing to be very involved in your career and student affairs community. Conversely, I think it’s awesome and I admire folks who so passionately dedicate their time and energy to their students.
If I’m being honest, though, some of the very best #SAPros that I’ve met are equally as invested in projects outside of student affairs as they are for those that come across their desks at work.
We often throw around the phrase “work-life-balance”, which seems to be a myth that is debunked as often as it is used. The way I understand that concept is the idea of finding passions and outlets outside of work to complement and enhance those that make their way into our careers. It doesn’t mean we can’t stay busy (because let’s be honest, we all seem to fail at that challenge)! Getting involved outside of student affairs helps us to stay in touch with what’s going on off campus and sharpen our skills in new and exciting ways. It’s fresh perspective that can still benefit our students greatly.
My supervisor is a wonderful example of this spin on a healthy work-life-balance. She is a rock star mom of two young boys and was recently elected to a four year term on her local School Board. She works tirelessly in our office to support the mission of first year advising. Then, she devotes additional time and energy to the success of local schools when she leaves the office. Her kids (and her co-workers) are extremely lucky!
And what about those of us who love to travel? We have vacation days for a reason. If we’re doing it correctly, our time off and new places visited will certainly benefit and enhance our interactions with our students. How can I help them to better understand different cultures if I don’t understand them myself? How can I encourage a student to take a deep breath and do something relaxing if I’m leaking stress? It is difficult to justify time spent away from the desk if it does not appear to directly benefit the job description. Thinking about our time out of the office as support for our time spent in the office, however, is not only healthy but very legitimate.
Here are some other great ways to get involved #OutsideSA:
- Serving on a Board
- Family Trips
- Community Leadership
- Religious Organizations
- Exercise & Sports
- Interest Clubs and Organizations
What works for you?
Make a list of your goals and priorities both in the context of you #SA work and apart from it. Next, think about some examples of ways that you are able to achieve these goals outside of the office. Maybe you’re interested in learning more about the K-12 schools in your local area. You might want to know how to better support a student’s transition from high school to college. Not only would that be an incredible benefit to your community but it would likely bolster your work and your institution’s mission and vision. Perhaps you love animals but don’t have the time to adopt a pet of your own. Your local SPCA would love a couple of hours each week after work, which would simultaneously allow you to decompress and do something you love.
What do you do #OutsideSA?
> BONUS <
Podcast With Stacy Oliver-Sikorski on Professional Development