I have been fortunate to make acquaintances, friends, and even #SAbesties through my work in student affairs. I’ve met them through a variety of channels, such as my cohort (Boston College ’14), my colleagues in my graduate and postgraduate work, and surprisingly, thanks to Twitter.
When I graduated from Boston College, I realized that my close friends would be scattered around the country and that keeping up with them would require technology – I love calling and video chatting with some great friends! Weekend trips and mini-reunions at conferences such as NASPA are made sweeter thanks to my cohort.
I was prepared to experience some of my physical friendships becoming virtual, but I would have never expected for some of the virtual connections that I’ve made to have such a strong and positive influence in my life. One connection in particular, with first-year #SAgrad Katie Hartman (@KHart1230 – follow her, y’all!) has changed my life for the better in such a short period of time. I cannot tell you how blessed I am to have her in my life, and to see how much our friendship has blossomed!
Katie and I met in January, through the #SAfitchallenge. While I was intrigued by the concept, I wasn’t sure if it was something I would be able to keep up with. She challenged me to join the group, and I felt like I needed to accept. We started talking that evening, and a couple of hours flew by without either one of us noticing. Since then, texting, sending Snapchats, and video chatting have become routine for us. We connect on a variety of levels, and I greatly enjoy the conversations that we have – some related to student affairs, some not – and I learn so much from what we talk about. We both feel comfortable with sharing the vulnerable chapters of our stories, and our ability to do this has impacted me both personally and professionally.
Katie and I have similar skill sets, but we work in two separate functional areas and are in different places in our student affairs careers. She’s a first-year Graduate Assistant in admissions, and I’m a new professional working with my institution’s experiential learning initiative. Because our paths are so different, we are able to have interesting and dynamic conversations surrounding a variety of student affairs topics, and we use one another as sounding boards for different project ideas. Our discussions have informed my work as I build my institution’s internship program, and her insight has caused me to explore other areas of student affairs that I have less of an expertise in.
When I agreed to take part in the #SAfitchallenge, I would have never expected to make such a strong and impactful connection, but I’m so proud of the friendship that we have cultivated over the past month. Katie is a gem, and I can’t wait to hang out with her at NASPA – and show her around Birmingham afterwards!