”The older you get, the more you realize that it isn’t about the material things, or pride, or ego. It’s about our hearts and who they beat for.” ~Unknown Author
Who does your heart beat for?
For me, I am in Student Affairs (or Student Services for the Community College family) because my heart says this is where I belong…my heart beats for the students and I followed my heart! I did not always know that I wanted to work in Student Affairs but what I did know early on in my life, was that relating to people came naturally and I was fierce (my family would say stubborn) when it came time to advocate for others. So it was a right “fit” to embark on a career journey in a field where advocacy and relating to students is at the heart of our work.
“Fit.” I know it sounds cliché and is what is taught in our masters programs when learning about student development (you know what we learned from the big green book…Student Development in College), and it holds true for professionals as well. But know this, fit can change over time, I am living proof. For the past 15 years of my career I worked at a four year public institution and I enjoyed every lesson and achievement. But something unique happened, I enrolled in a doctoral program (again my heart lead me back to school) and it was life changing! It was in my doctoral program that I began to question my professional goals and wondered whether or not I was still following my heart? That’s when I realized that returning to the community college system was where my heart was taking me because this was where my academic journey began, at a community college.
What is it like to transfer to a 2 year?
Wait, did I do that backwards? Didn’t I already transfer from a community college? Not to worry, this was intentional and I followed my heart. Making a professional shift from a 4yr to a 2yr has not been easy as the systems are different, but it can be done if done for the right reasons and it aligned with my doctoral preparation. The learning processes, the role of the Board of Trustees, and the emerging trends of Student Equity are all at the forefront of California Community Colleges trends. It is also a climate of shared governance which is central to the operation of the institution with every committee having representation from administrators, faculty, and students…that I was not used to. Counselors provide academic advising and are considered faculty. I also admire how strong the unions are in advocating for the employees. Yet, the most amazing quality of the 2yr that I have experienced is the amount of social justice/advocacy that is present in the student body. Wow, and I thought I was fierce! I have so much admiration for our community college students…their narratives are amazing. In the end…following your heart can lead you right where you are meant to be!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Melissa Boles on Academic Advising in a Community College Setting