October is Careers in Student Affairs Month which means its the time of the year to focus on and celebrate all of the weirdos (like me) in the world who chose to pursue a career in Higher Education (more specifically, Student Affairs).
Like most people who wind up in this field, I stumbled into it unexpectedly while in college. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my future, but I loved every moment of college. I thrived in college!
I quickly became involved on campus my freshman year at Northern Michigan University, serving as the Vice President for my Residence Hall Council, joining different clubs and organizations on campus, and attending every event I possibly could.
After my great experiences in Hall Council, I knew I wanted to apply to be a Resident Adviser. The selection process was pretty intense and competitive, but I managed to survive…and was hired for a position my sophomore year. I worked as a RA in Meyland Hall for two years and had the best supervisor in the world – we’re still best friends today!
The summer before Junior year I was hired to be a New Student Orientation Staff Assistant and I spent that summer falling even more in love with Northern Michigan University.
Junior year I was a RA again and got super involved with the organization Marquette Ending Hunger! This group would soon become my Marquette Family and the “friends you meet in college that you will have forever”.
The summer before my Senior year was my second summer working with New Student Orientation and would be an even better summer than the first because it was my last summer in college and I lived up every moment!
Senior year I worked in the Center for Student Enrichment as a Coordinator for the Volunteer Center and the Superior Edge leadership program.
After four years of campus involvement and a growing passion for this work – and no clue what to do with my communications degree – I knew I had to go into Student Affairs.
I applied for graduate school, GA positions, and entry level full-time positions at universities across the nation. It was intense and scary, but I knew I was making the right decision.
I attended the Oshkosh Placement Exchange and interviewed with many institutions. I loved OPE – and found a GA position because of this great experience!
I was accepted into the Adult & Higher Education program at the University of South Dakota and was offered a graduate assistant position with Sorority & Fraternity Life.
While at USD, I was provided the opportunity to attend the NASPA regional conference in St. Louis and it was here that I became obsessed with professional conferences, networking with other Student Affairs professionals and deepened my love for this work.
Seeking even more work in this field, some time away from the Midwest and professional development opportunities, I applied for summer internships at other institutions through ACUHO-I. This search led me back to my housing roots when I was hired for a position with Residence Life and Conference Services at Western State Colorado University.
In one month’s time, I gained more experience in this internship than I had the entire first year of grad school and when a position opened up in this department, I jumped at the chance to apply and stay in Colorado.
This all leads me to today. It is mid-October. I am laying in my hotel bed after just completing the ACPA Residential Curriculum Institute. I landed that open position that I applied for during my summer at Western and am still happy to be in Colorado! I am finishing my masters degree online through USD while working full-time!! It is a challenge, but is so worth it.
This is my story so far.
Here’s to writing more of it as I continue my way toward graduation and a bright future in this awesome field – with an even more awesome team!
*All photo credits: Western State Colorado University Social & Digital Media Coordinator, Taylor Cull.
*If you’re interested, I wrote a post last year for this same topic.