I previously dismissed the word “connect” as a student affairs buzzword overused in the context of Twitter and conferences. However, as I begin my first professional position, I am finding that my world is revolving around establishing beneficial connections within all areas in my life.
Connecting with New Colleagues
I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a divisional retreat two weeks before I started full-time in my position. I am so glad I was able to meet as many student affairs professionals at my new institutions as possible and begin to form partnerships. I have come to realize the importance of connection in the success of my work with students as many programming efforts are an overall team endeavor. Additionally, I am spending the majority of my Monday-Fridays with these people!Finding my lunch group and coffee buddies has been important in making social connections and creating a fun workplace.
Connecting with Community
Entering my new professional role, I always knew I wanted to have a thriving life outside of my job. I have the ethos that my position is a part of a life which includes many other parts. Establishing connections with the outside regional community gets me out and about trying new things and introduces me to new people. I am volunteering with the local animal shelter and taking on a new physical challenge by joining a CrossFit gym. Having been a rugby player in graduate school and college, I am looking for opportunities to coach youth or a collegiate team and continue to stay involved in the rugby world. I am all about the activities that engage me with others and give me reasons to leave the office!
Connecting with Loved Ones
Relocating has been somewhat lonely, but has also given me a wealth of time to remain in contact with those I am already close to. I spend my evenings connecting with friends and family on group video chats and weekly phone dates. My partner and I are in year three of long-distance and we have been able to maintain our nightly Skype ritual and weekend visits. Feeling the support of those who know me has been invaluable as I encounter new situations and challenges.
Connecting with my mind, body, and spirit
I believe I bring my whole self into my work and therefore strive to be in touch with my mind and body. Knowing when it is time to recharge and taking time to connect with my emotions has been beneficial in handling the transitional stress of a new position and life season. Exercise has always been important “me time” and one of the main ways I keep my body healthy. I always look forward to connecting my feet with the treadmill most days after work. Connecting with my spirit is a new area for me and one that I want to take time to explore this year. I know what I believe and value in my work and relationships with others and I am looking forward to exploring further spiritual beliefs and connecting them with how I interact in all parts of my life.
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Podcast With Valerie Heruska on SA Professionals Role in Development Efforts