14 States in One Year? It’s Doable With Student Affairs!

My recent journey in Student Affairs brought me halfway across the country, then back, with a few detours here and there. Long story short, in one year, I traveled through 14 states, all in the name of Student Affairs.

My senior year of college I was lucky enough to be admitted to Ball State University’s Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education, or SAAHE for short, master’s program. This meant moving from my mountainous safe haven of Salt Lake City, Utah to flat, corn-filled Muncie, Indiana. While this was quite the adjustment, in multiple ways, it allowed me to see a part of the country I had never seen before. My dad and I drove through Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. What a trip that was filled with jumping pictures and many tunes on replay!

In the latter part of the year, the wonderful and overwhelming job search began! A few of my fellow SAAHE-ers and I packed up my car and drove to The Placement Exchange in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We crossed the entire state of Ohio, explored the mountains of West Virginia, and arrived in Pennsylvania safe and sound! Being able to explore other states, and Philadelphia specifically, with those I had grown closest to in graduate school was quite a treat!

When I was lucky enough to get a job at New Mexico State University at the end of my year in Muncie, the trek back to the West began. With a fellow SAAHE-er, we packed up my car and headed through rainy Illinois, mountainous and cave-filled Missouri, really, really flat Oklahoma, the pan handle of Texas, and finally to beautiful New Mexico. Sharing the road trip experience with someone who had never been West, other than California (which doesn’t count in a Utahn’s eyes), was really exciting!

I guess the point of this blurb of a blog is when you sit back and think about it, working in the profession of Student Affairs really allows us to travel all over the country. Whether it is to attend a program and earn a degree, relocate for a job, or attend a conference, there is much space in this country for us to explore. Let’s take advantage of it!

Another wonderful plus of working in this great field is that we are all love (I hope I’m making a safe assumption here) to work with people, and keep in touch with others. Clearly by the activity on Twitter, and with this blog, among many other great tools, we (Student Affairs professionals) like to stay in touch. So go to conferences, visit those in other states that you have connected with. It is always wonderful to have visitors! Plus, who doesn’t love showing off where we work, our community, and the great work being done around us? Also, when you stay with a friend, you can always save a little $$...hint…hint…

I know one of my goals this year is to visit friends I’ve met through Student Affairs in Boise, Florida, Montana, Phoenix, and Denver. Now stop reading this, and connect with those you haven’t talked to in a while, or those you speak to each day. Whether it’s near or far-  Go! Explore! We are young, exciting people and who knows where a campus or city visit can lead?

Where will Student Affairs take you?

Katie Ericson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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