It’s hard to believe that only a week ago, I was in Chicago, preparing to leave the Windy City after a week spent on Magnificent Mile, darting between the Marriott, Sheraton, and Gleacher Center. I’ve enjoyed deep-dish pizza at two Chicago locations, had my photo taken with the giant bean called “Cloud Gate” at Millennium Park, and seen the Water Tower that lasted through the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The NASPA 2010 experience seemed to come and go at a fast pace – almost too quickly! I am now reflecting on my time spent in Chicago. To do this, I am taking excerpts from my blogs, and will be commenting on my original thoughts.
‘The spread of ideas from one institution to another is a beneficial and necessary flow, and I hope that I can positively impact my campus by bringing new perspectives gained at the conference to Florida State.”
A session that I attended was about transforming our residence halls to be student-focused. Various methods were discussed, but one of the most important aspects brought up was making sure that intentional lounge and common areas are created for students to gather. This will encourage casual dialogue and friendships to form, simply from placing a lounge area in a highly traveled area of the hall. I have already started to sit in the lounge areas in my buildings at Florida State University, in an effort to encourage students to utilize the space more effectively.
“I would like to attend sessions that will provide me with a well-rounded, balanced view of the conference. Although my interests are concentrated in particular categories, I hope to reach outside of those interests and explore other areas and topics.”
I’ve gotten so much out of this conference, a lot of it unexpected positive consequences of a whim. Since I was awarded the Golden Key NASPA Annual Conference Scholarship, I signed up for the APPEX pre- conference workshop that introduced me to the wonderful folks at the Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community (APIKC). Through APIKC, I met a wide variety of student affairs professionals, from graduate students to senior administrators. Similar to finding a community on a large college campus, the knowledge communities really do create that sense of connection and support that are crucial to one’s success. I immediately felt welcome into a community that made the rest of NASPA less overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong – it was still overwhelming, especially coming straight from a demanding semester.
However, it really helped to meet and connect with new folks in a smaller and more intimate space before thousands of student affairs folks descended on Chicago! Read more…
The NASPA 2010 Conference reshaped and helped define my interest in pursuing a career in student affairs. It definitely complemented and expanded upon my experiences as a NUFP fellow at my home institution. I was able to better reflect upon my own stories and experiences from Duke University and compare and contrast them with other NUFP fellows and student affairs practitioners. This helped me broaden my view of the field and institutional life and motivated me to keep exploring outside the bounds of my own comfort and my own experiences.
The volunteer experiences were instrumental to my own personal development at the annual conference. Volunteering at The Placement Exchange really helped me understand the structure of the field more and gave me, literally, a bird’s eye view of the hiring process for entry-level positions. Now, when I’m sitting behind the curtain and checking my mailbox fervently, I will know what to expect from the chaos! Also, my experience with escorting a legacy was unforgettable. Being able to talk with Dr. Mary Edmunds about her experiences in the field and about why she stayed in student affairs despite the challenging times all her life encouraged and motivated me.
The educational sessions I attended did several things for me. First they helped me understand what student affairs practitioners do at their various institutions and how it differs and relates to what I’ve seen at Duke. Second, they provided me with information about student populations and how to better serve them. Third, they helped me to understand part of the purpose of the conference – practitioners sharing and learning from each other to make the entire field better.
Lastly, I really enjoyed meeting new people – from the other NUFP fellows, to student affairs administrators from across the countries, to the legacies, and even Nathan Victoria. It definitely broadened my view of the field, catalyzed my interest and passion for student affairs, and helped me to develop my networking skills.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to have been a recipient of the Golden Key NASPA Annual Conference Scholarship. It was because of the scholarship, that I was able to attend both The Placement Exchange and NASPA 2010. I would definitely recommend first time job candidates to take Strengths Quest, and to attend TPE Elite Interview Training if they get a chance. Mark Pogue, the VP for Gallup helps you use Strength Quest to help you better tell your story. Matt Tranium and Amanda Williams were wonderful interview guides, and you have the opportunity to speak to a wide range of seasoned student affairs professionals. For me, it was my first time at The Placement Exchange, and it was a bit overwhelming at first. I was under the impression that it would be like OshKosh, where there are tables set up with dividers, or interview rooms, but I was wrong. Instead, there were groups of tables sectioned off, and rows and rows of interview tables. Interviewing was lots of fun, I enjoyed learning about the institutions that were there, and I was fortunate to have Angela Davenport and John Davenport from ISU as my “mom and dad” at the conference. Not to mention my ISU cohort was there, in addition to the many friends that I made during my stay there. In an interview, just be yourself. You know yourself the best, and you’ve got a wonderful story. Now all you have to do is to be able to articulate your story, and find out if that institution will be the right fit for you. Read more…
I am very excited to be reflecting on my NASPA experience! I have already talked to my classmates, friends, and family about my great time in Chicago, but it is also nice to share my experiences with this blogging community. Overall, my first time at the NASPA Annual Conference was not as intimidating as I had thought it would be. It was exciting, motivating, and refreshing! I was able to work toward all three of the goals I had identified in my first blog (e.g., networking, getting involved in a Knowledge Community [KC], and exposing myself to diverse sessions), while also surrounding myself with other professionals and students who are as passionate about higher education administration, research, policy, theory, and practice as I am! This blog entry will serve to talk more about my NASPA experience, summarizing how my conference goals were achieved, what I learned from my volunteer experience, and how I am inspired to continue my commitment to the field after this unique opportunity. Read more…
First off, I want to say that it was great meeting many of you at the conference! It’s always nice to meet the individual behind the email or blog post :) As I reflect on my experience at the conference, two weeks after the conclusion of the event, I’m increasingly realizing what an amazing opportunity it represented. I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea that NASPA existed until a few months ago – and now I have attended the organization’s national conference! I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful mentor who introduced me to NASPA and the possibility of turning the work I’m doing at Occidental College into a career.
I traveled to Chicago without assumptions or expectations; I simply wanted to meet other students interested in Student Affairs, make connections with professionals, and most of all, learn everything I could about NASPA and Student Affairs overall. The conference proved to be an eye-opening, overwhelming, and ultimately exciting experience. I was not prepared for 12+ hours of lectures, receptions and networking events in a single day, trying to learn all the NASPA lingo, or hearing the phrase “Learning Outcomes” on an hourly basis! But once I got over the “culture shock,” so to speak, I came to appreciate the conference’s invaluable opportunities for professional development. The undergraduate pre-conference provided me with first-hand information on graduate school and the realities of the field, and I enjoyed the conference sessions, in particular the sessions on developing social justice allies and on the problematic nature of “colorblind” policies. The exceptional lineup of guest speakers, particularly Condolezza Rice (who knew she had such a great sense of humor?), Jean Twenge, and Andrew Jolivette, provided another highlight. And while I was somewhat dubious of volunteering as Social Media Tech, the experience ultimately allowed me to meet other undergrads and student affairs professionals, as well as improve my (admittedly meager) twitter skills. In short, I left Chicago with new friends and professional contacts, exciting programming ideas, and a far greater understanding of the diverse possibilities within Student Affairs.
I had a great time at the NASPA Conference – it was a very developmental experience. I was able to meet a ton of fascinating people, both NUFP peers and NASPA professionals. I had some great conversations about social justice and diversity. I attended a really interesting session on the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance, which I believe will be a strong force for mental health advocacy nationwide. In terms of conference attendance, I was able to do it all – I volunteered at TPE and took some videos, I attended several sessions, I went to the entire NUFP and SALT pre-conference, and I was able to network a lot. From my volunteer experience, I learned what TPE is like (which may serve me well in the future) and I gained confidence in approaching people to take videos of them. In terms of NASPA specifically, I learned a lot about the organization and how it functions. It was a real honor to escort Peggy Barr onto the stage during the opening program. I think that my commitment to the field was bolstered by the conference – I’m pretty sure that I will end up in the field of Student Affairs, starting either next year or in the future. The conference reaffirmed my commitment to mental health and student advocacy issues.