Professional Development


This time of year has really allowed me to reflect, which once you get to know me – I LOVE to reflect, on my professional development over the past year. One thing I do truly enjoy is evaluations and feedback; I think they are crucial not only to our development as professionals and educators, but as members of society. Sometimes feedback can be scary, foreboding, and (what may feel like) personal, but it is in my opinion that the best way to make this an exciting and reflective time is through self-awareness and reflection! As I think back on my first year in my Graduate Hall Coordinator position in Housing. I can identify some areas of future growth but have also identified some major areas where I grew as a professional this past year. I also want to take this time to give a big shout-out to my direct supervisor @beeesue for helping me in tremendous ways this year as well as my Assistant Director, Drew Jahr who truly encouraged self-reflection and has challenged me to think outside the box everyday. Below is a list of the tools I utilized the most for self-reflection and professional development in my first year!

Thesis
Why the heck would anyone want to do this?!? Well, I for one enjoy writing, and two I’ve realized there are several topics that I am truly interested in within Student Affairs. Also I want to go on and get my Ph.D. someday, and I know this will help prepare me for that process. Yet, what have I really learned from the process of picking a topic, a chair, and starting research – well there are so many topics out there, but there are a few that I feel passionately enough about to write up to 100 pages about. More importantly I learned the true meaning of being a lifelong learner – just because you don’t chose a certain topic for a thesis or don’t do one at all does not mean you can’t continue to read about it, learn more, and become an expert in your own way!

Social Media (current topic idea for my thesis)
Twitter and blogging have been great ways to start building a PLN (personal learning network) and network of great friends and colleagues in the field! This may not be for everyone, but I have been able to learn about so many great ideas both personally and professionally via Twitter and the blogs I follow. Now I have the privilege of writing for @SAFirstYears on a weekly basis! The one social media tip I have greatly appreciated from a co-worker was to pick an image/topic and maintain that!

Conferences
This year I got to go to SWACUHO and The Placement Exchange (TPE)! Both were fantastic experiences! At SWACUHO I had the opportunity to present, which horrified me at first, but was an amazing experience. I highly encourage you to take on the challenge of presenting at a conference. Pick a topic you are confident about and I imagine you will find yourself loving presenting.

All in all, this year has been a full year of learning, growing, and networking. Have you reflected on this past year? What lessons did you learn? What tools helped you along the way? I would love to hear, please share with me!

In peace,
Ryan Bye @byebyeryan

Student Affairs - the First Years

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