What is it that I’m searching for in this strange place, day after day?” ~The Last Unicorn
It’s difficult to have people read your blog posts if they don’t know who you are. Sure, I have an “About” page, but those tend towards the general, intended to remain the same, or at least similar, over time. The day-to-day stuff however, changes regularly enough that I feel a “personal statement” might be in order.
I’m a new Student Affairs professional, but I am not as young or new as that term may conjure. I was the oldest person in my grad school cohort by 3 years; celebrating my 30th birthday at the same time my new friends were turning 25 and 26 (and some younger than that!!). I’m not new to higher education, having worked in Human Resources at a university for 5 years. But that is very different from Student Affairs; worlds apart, yet still similar.
I discovered Student Affairs during my last year of undergrad; I was basically furniture at the SSC (now SSU) Campus Center, and it was from among this group that Lee Brossoit announced the new MEd in Higher Education in Student Affairs that was starting the following Fall. I had kind of understood that one could make a career out of working at a college (living on campus and being involved with Student Activities supported that), but I hadn’t realized that this was not something one just “fell into” because they enjoyed it, it was a bonna-fide career choice, with a degree and everything. After 5 years of education however, and an interest in 2 different paths, I took time off. Then I got comfortable and needed a kick in the pants to pursue my degree, earning an MS in College Student Development & Counseling 8 years after first really considering Student Affairs as a career choice.
As I close out my first academic year as a Student Affairs pro, I am starting to FOCUS on the year, who I am, and what I need to do in order to be true to myself, my profession and my students. To say I’m shy is an understatement. The last time I took the MBTI, I scored 95% on Introverted (no, the MBTI isn’t the be-all of personality diagnosis, but THAT is something I can’t ignore). It’s one of the reasons I like learning so much; the books and grades and pieces of paper can allow me to show off without REALLY putting myself out on display. My degrees can sit on a shelf quietly reminding people that I’m educated and know what I’m talking about; I can write an A paper for a class and never have to say a word and risk being wrong. Like Ariel however, “I want more.” I’ll never be one of the Student Affairs big-wigs, but I’d like to work for/with them, be able to grab a cup of coffee during a lunch break or if we’re at a conference together, stop being just an observer.
That’s the real “why” of my blogging adventure, but only part of the “who”. I’m planning a wedding for late September; Ellie and I will have been engaged for 2 years & 2 months by the time we get married which is a long time, but neither of us wanted to plan a wedding while I was in school, and I wanted to have a year worth of earning money again to help pay for things. Ellie is very much the opposite of me–she’s the life of the party and knows everyone. She is my Knight in Shiny Armor; sometimes literally when we are attending Renaissance Faires as playtrons (people who pay to get in, but still dress up). I’m a fantasy geek; JRR Tolkien is my favorite author, with Piers Anthony being my favorite before him. If the novel takes place in a fantasy world or has an element of magic in it, I will probably enjoy it. This probably goes back to my Introversion–books, especially fantasy novels, allowed the anxious, unpopular little girl to escape into a world where the hero/ine was often the least likely candidate.