“Getting lost along your path is a part of finding the path you are meant to be on,”
said Robin S. Sharma.
This quote reminds me of how I found my path into Student Affairs. This path began with a lot of hardships; my serious 3 year relationship had recently ended, I knew I didn’t want to make a life-long career out of my major, and I was juggling two jobs while going to school. Despite these hardships, I chose to take on the Programming Committee Chair position through the United Student Housing Association (USHA). With that position, I joined a GroupMe that consisted of various Programming Committee Chairs across MACURH. I connected with these people and discussed ideas and tips on planning programs.
As a result of my experience in USHA, I chose to apply to STARS College; they accepted my application. I was extremely fortunate to have both the financial and moral support I needed to go halfway across the country. I loved this experience; it was the first time I saw other people who also had a passion for Student Affairs. Like me, most of them even had a passion for housing. During my time there, I heard many stories of the paths that led my colleagues to apply to STARS College. I joined numerous GroupMe and Facebook group pages to stay connected to them and other Student Affairs professionals. For the first time in my life, I felt like I truly belonged.
I did not always feel like I belonged at my undergraduate institution. It is difficult to be surrounded by a plethora of people who do not understand what you love to do or why you love to do it. Sometimes I even found myself so lost in my work that I forgot why I started in the first place. Whenever I need a reminder or something to smile at, Facebook group pages are there to help.
Having the GroupMe and Facebook groups allowed me to ask questions and receive answers. In addition, it provided me with the opportunity to vent and see if I was alone with anything I experienced. I even connected with other colleagues via Snapchat. We sent pictures of experiences that a person involved in Student Affairs would understand. We sent each other pictures of ourselves writing incident reports at early hours in the morning or making door decorations.
I embraced my new role as the National Communications Coordinator by joining various GroupMe and Facebook group pages for MACURH and NACURH. Shortly after, I joined other Student Affair group pages on Facebook, and I continue to do so as I find ones that interest me.
Facebook allows me to connect with other Student Affair professionals and professionals-in-training. I see postings for jobs, various questions, and links to articles that give a little more insight into various topics. I read the comments on such postings and know my colleagues truly care about their students. My colleagues ask for ideas on how to best help their students, while keeping in mind the limitations and boundaries set forth by their department and institution.
I will be starting training for my Assistant Hall Director position soon at Old Dominion University. Additionally, I will be working on my Masters in Student Affairs. Social media will be helpful in maintaining relationships and with my professional development. I will continue to connect with new colleagues and read these posts to expand my knowledge as a professional-in-training because I value social media. I will also continue to use social media to connect with the people I am leaving and see how the organizations I have invested time into are doing. Without social media integrated into my professional life, I would not have learned as much as I already have. Social media in Student Affairs provides an amazing support system that some people would not otherwise have and is a great educational resource.