Remembering Time

My top 5 moments of being a new professional…thus far

5.) The first paycheck post graduate school – Growing up, I had to work hard for an allowance from my parents. Naturally, when in graduate school, I had no money as everything from my stipend went to books, rent, student fees, and other bills. I was always broke. However, when I started my first professional job, the 4 figures on my check surprised me. Of course it doesn’t seem like much now that payback for my student loans kicked in…but to me, that first paycheck made me feel like I had hit the jackpot.

4.) The first day of classes – My favorite “holiday” above all awesome celebrations is the first day of school. Ever since I was a child, the first day of school was an exciting time for me. It meant new notebooks and pens, a stellar backpack, and seeing my friends after a long summer break. Now that I work at a university, it still brings joy to my heart to purchase a new notepad for meetings and to talk to students all day about how their summer went and their goals for the semester.

3.) Whenever a student tells me they want to study Student Affairs – I love conversations with my students about life after college. All the advice on back-up plans and work paths make me feel important in the decision to shape the future of a student. When they decide to go to graduate school for Student Affairs—that is when my I fall in love with this profession all over again! Especially when the student says “I want to be like you, and help students” it makes every late night, early morning, and weekend work days that more meaningful.

2.) The time when the student organization I advise held a silent demonstration – I have not been in the field that long, but I had never encountered students so passionate about what they believe in (even if it’s a cause I don’t agree with). My students were deciding on a design for their organization’s t-shirt for this academic year. Two designs were selected, and the students cast their votes. However, Group A (a group of students from the organization who tend to disagree with everything) decided that the design that had won did not represent their organization and created a petition against it (side note: this design was not offensive; the design was just very plain). The Executive Board tried to reconcile with Group A and held a 2nd vote, but the opposing students still found issues—this time with the voting process. On the day the petition was being presented, Group A showed up dressed in black. The petition failed because it did not have enough valid signatures, but my Executive Board looked past it and held a 3rd vote anyway in an attempt to be fair. The design that Group A wanted had finally won and they left victorious from that meeting, leaving behind a broken and divided organization. It’s been difficult creating unity amongst the group since then, but my executive officers (who are mostly freshmen) have been experiencing leadership in times of adversity. In the end, the design that the students fought so hard for was copyrighted, and many of the companies in our area would not print the shirts. We found an alternate design: our organization’s crest. The students voted, and the design passed. The lesson that both the students and I learned was that you have to pick and choose your battles.

1.) Writing for this blog – Being a new professional at my institution feels a bit lonely at times because most of the people close to my age are students. I don’t have many friends in the area either because my schedule doesn’t allow for much free time to visit people out-of-town. Time is essential when it comes to connecting with people. The opportunity to write for the Student Affairs-the First Years blog has been very rewarding because I get to “meet” other people. I’ve enjoyed reading through other writers’ experiences and learning that many other professionals have experienced the same highs and lows in their careers as me. Even though I may not personally know these writers, I feel very connected to each one of them. 

Tabatha Cruz

Student Affairs - the First Years

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