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NASPA Post Conference: Samiyyah Ali

April 15, 2010

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.

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