Express Yourself

Life as a Student Affairs professional is exciting. I feel like I learn something new every day. Whether it's a school policy I was unaware of or it's a student teaching me the newest dance craze off of YouTube. There never seems to be a dull moment! But amongst all the hustle and bustle, one thing I've learned is to stay true to yourself. When you find yourself in a totally new environment, like I did, I can see where it would be easy to fall into what you think you're
"supposed" to be like.

Music is one of the main things that keeps me grounded. It can turn my mood around and take me to my "happy place" in a matter of minutes. I'm always singing. If a fellow coworker is talking to me and some of their words are also lyrics to a song, take one guess at what happens. Yep- I burst into whatever chorus it reminds me of and I don't care who is around. That’s just who I am. That is Kristen and nothing will change that.

Something my parents have instilled in me ever since I was a young girl is to never let anyone or anything change you. You were made this way for a reason and you have a purpose. It's been in numerous letters and birthday cards as long as I can remember so of course, it's stuck with me. I won't change for anyone and in return, I would never ask anyone to change for me. This is what I relate back to the students. I'm aware that my institution isn't the right fit for each student that I talk to. Maybe it's because we don't offer their major of perhaps they would prefer a smaller student population. Whatever the reason may be, I'm honest with them. Picking a college is one of the most important decisions of your life. You don't want it to be the wrong fit- it can lead the student to become unhappy, transfer, or even withdraw completely.

Be true to yourself. Express yourself. For me, it was finding the right job and a way to show my passion for helping students. Find your best fit. My good friend Madonna says it best- don't go for second best... express yourself! 

Kristen Chapman

Student Affairs - the First Years

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