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Refreshing Reflections of a NASPA First-Timer: Kim Kushner

March 2, 2010

Hi everyone. I am excited to be writing my second blog of the NASPA Golden Key Scholarship blogging experience. Since my last blog, I have been working to prepare for NASPA Placement Exchange and the Annual NASPA Conference by getting my suits tailored, dry cleaning my business casual attire, sending resumes/cover letters to prospective interviewers, and learning more about the NASPA conference in general. Although I am a little bit nervous about leaving for Chicago in less than one week, I am incredibly excited to participate in something I know will help me develop personally, academically, and professionally, and help me feel more comfortable and confident with my career plans post-graduation.

As stated before, one of the primary ways I have been getting ready for the conference is sending in resumes/cover letters to prospective employers who will be present at The Placement Exchange. It is very exciting to check The Placement Exchange website almost every day, seeing what new positions pop up and how they might complement my professional objectives. I am interested in pretty much any type of job, whether it is in residence life, orientation, student activities, or career services. However, I am learning to be intentional with picking positions that I can truly see myself being successful in and where I can learn the most as an entry-level practitioner. In addition, I am also in the process of the job search with my partner, who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Although I have heard that the partner search can be difficult to navigate, it is incredibly difficult when you are long distance and he is also trying to find a job at the same time. Needless to say, this distance has created many opportunities for late night phone conversations centering on potential cities, schools, and functional areas that meet both of our needs. Please feel free to comment on my blog if you have any advice for the partner search, or if you are going through the same thing right now.

I am also excited for NASPA because of the formal and informal networking opportunities. Since my last post, I found a really great activity that has helped me put networking into perspective. It is called the Four Archetypes of Networkers: the swan, the butterfly, the dolphin, and the lion. As the website states, “The swan, the butterfly, the dolphin, and the lion are metaphors for different kinds of networkers. They represent different combinations of two essential qualities of networking: how many contacts you make and how intensely you mine those networking relationships”. The website provides short blurbs about each of the four animals, offering positive traits, potential down sides, and how to overcome the challenges of each category. I feel that I am most like the dolphin networking type, because I am able to balance meeting new people and maintaining close relationships with existing friends or acquaintances. I am able to connect with a variety of people, and love connecting people through finding similarities in backgrounds (i.e., finding out someone is from Los Angeles and connecting them with someone I know from that area).  For more information on your networking style, definitely check out this website here.

Another thing that I am really excited about is the Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community (SLP-KC). I have been working with other graduate students and professional staff throughout the country to coordinate the SLP-KC Community Fair table, and I look forward to finally seeing our finished product. It has been a strange experience to work on a project through conference calls and with people I have never met. However, as I am learning, it seems that most professional associations have this type of work relationship, and I am happy to have this experience early on in my NASPA career. I hope to ultimately take some type of leadership role in SLP-KC, and I look forward to meeting the leaders in this community throughout the duration of the conference.

Overall, nervousness, excitement, and stress are some key words that describe my emotions at the moment. As I attempt to balance everything in the next few days of conference preparation, class work, and assistantship work, I hope to keep a positive attitude, and get even more pumped for the journey ahead!

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