Despite being a twenty-something who is obsessed with social media (specifically Instagram & Twitter), I do not consider myself to be an expert. That is specifically why writing this post has been a challenge for me this week. After a lot of brainstorming, I decided it may be a good idea to share why I find blogging on Student Affairs to be a key attribute to my professional development and how other young SA Pros can kickstart their own blog.
At first, blogging was a huge challenge for me. As a former Creative Writing major, I figured having a personal blog would be the easiest thing in the world. Despite this thought, it was a great challenge to consistently post. A large part of the challenge was, of course, Imposter Syndrome. Do I know enough about this topic to offer valuable insight? Will people judge my experiences and consider me a mediocre professional? Despite the nagging thoughts, I began to write. Regardless of other people’s thoughts, it was important to be my most genuine self through my blog.
So why blogging?
Blogging is a valuable experience for young SA Pros to get into. I tell myself that the process is valuable regardless of whether or not people are actually reading what I’m writing. Basically, I’m keeping an online reflective journal of my Student Affairs experiences. I’m taking time to think back on the good things (and the bad) to improve myself. I’m also sharing these good things and challenges with other young professionals who may need to hear that we all go through similar struggles.
Great! Now where do I begin?
Figure out what you want to write about.
From my experience, the first step is determining the theme of your blog. Student Affairs is a very broad field of work. Even if you don’t specifically define the theme in your blog itself, it’s still good to give yourself a specific scope for your content (at least from my experience). After a lot of thought, I decided to focus on my life in Residence Life, my young professional experiences, and, of course, mental health/self-care, since all of these intersect within my life.
Choose your site.
After thinking about what you will actually write about, the next step is to explore blogging sites and platforms to sign up with. I chose WordPress since it is a well-known site, and there are a lot of awesome options for themes/design. WordPress standard is completely free and easy to use!
Pick a name!
After choosing your site, do all the fun stuff, like picking a name for your blog, writing your bio, adding all the pretty widgets and side menus, etc. Honestly, choosing a name for a blog is one of the hardest parts. I recommend asking some friends for feedback on titles (which is definitely what I did).
Write an intro post.
Once you set up the fun stuff, write your introductory piece. In my intro blog post, I explained what a Hall Director is (since that was my position when I started) and why I was starting this blog. Have fun with it! I like to fit in my sense of humor and personal pictures when I can. I think it’s really important for my reader to see that I’m a real person.
Create your “brand.”
Although I’ve never taken courses or done much research on personal branding, I’ve learned that providing a consistent message of who I am on all social media is crucial. My goal is to be an influencer in my field (in some way), and so that message has to be conveyed through everything I do. Although my Facebook and Instagram profiles are private (due to family and friend photos), I have made sure that my public platforms (blog, Twitter, Linkedin) are consistent. All my photos are my professional headshot, and I have used consistent professional bios. This makes it easier to connect with other professionals on these platforms (again, based on my experience).
Overall, if you are considering blogging I say go for it. You’ll find a lot of growth through the self-reflection that comes from having a blog, regardless of whether you blog once a month or once a day. Sometimes you’re going to have pieces that completely flop while others are super insightful. The most important thing is that you’re writing. If you want any help/tips on kickstarting your SA Blog, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter at @AngelaDelfine24!