Advising and Adjusting in the Game


As Superbowl XLVI nears, I find myself comparing my transition and the role I play in student activities to the work of a coach. As the coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator, I want my teams to perform at their best, but I know that there will be hiccups and failures along the way.

As I advise student groups I realize that the students I work with are quarterbacks, linemen, receivers, and much more. They are learning how to perform under pressure. They may not be trained to step up in the pocket to have more time to throw the football or how to delegate and find themselves constantly running quarterback sneak. When they see that the defense has adjusted to respond to their play they look at me on the sideline. Lou Holtz, national championship coach, said “I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it.”

One of the many beauties of my role is the developmental conversations I have week in and out with student leaders. I find myself learning from them just as I hope to learn, teach, reflect, and share with them. If they’re going to be successful in the world I know that for many students it starts with their co-curricular experiences.

Fall semester flew by as my first year coaching. There were good and bad moments I learned from, there are definitely bumps and bruises in the game! But the moments I know I’ll remember are the wins, the upsets, the game clinchers, the multiple missed field goals, the special team plays, and the journey to the end of the season.

Having a semester under my belt to read the defense, learn the play calls and fouls, establish credibility in the league (department), and to be a part of the administration has been immensely helpful in my transition and working with students. I find myself reflecting often on the reasons I wanted to be a student affairs professional, the people who helped get me here, my development as a professional, and what my future in the field looks like.

In the game of football there is a level of pride when the season is over. The hope is that you have more wins than losses. And if there were more losses, there should be a level of courage even when there is none in sight. We all hope for the perfect season. At the end of the year when I reflect on all the student leaders I worked with, I too hope to have more wins than failures and more lessons learned than lessons repeated. Being a first year professional doesn’t mean that every experience is new, but it does mean there is even more importance  in doing the job well with good spirit and vigor.

My wish to you all is that at the end of this season there are more wins than losses. It may take time to build a winning or successful season but it has to start with the coach and student leaders believing.

Joshua Wilson
@jjwil325

Student Affairs - the First Years

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