One Year

Hello! Happy middle of June everyone! Can you believe how quickly this summer is cruisin’ by?

As I take a minute to just sit and process the past school year (yes, even though we closed our halls a month ago, I haven’t had too much time to process everything), I realize that tomorrow will be one year to the day that I packed everything I owned into my Subaru Outback and headed across the country with fellow @SAFirstYears blogger @charlecherry! With snacks everywhere in the car, the GPS set up, and a wonderful co-pilot, I set out to embark on the journey that has been the past year. The events of the following twelve months could never be predicted or anticipated.

Let me explain that last dramatic sentence. While we have shared our trials and tribulations through this blog as first year Student Affairs-ers the past six months or so, there are many stories I’m sure we haven’t shared. The stories and experiences that happen each day that are molding us into the wonderful and spectacular Student Affairs professionals that we are, and will continue to be. I can tell you this past year has been the biggest learning experience I could have ever asked for, and for that I am very thankful. While I have struggled both professionally and personally this past year, I know that it has only made me a better person. Reflecting on who I was a year ago today, finishing up my last graduate school class and packing up the last boxes of my apartment, I know I have grown in ways that I cannot even describe. I am thankful for everyone who has supported me in this journey, from a passing smile from a stranger to the many friends across the country I leaned on for support. I have always been a true believer in the quote “People come into your life for a reason, season, or a lifetime,” and this year has only proven this to me even more. I have made some amazing connections and friendships. I have lost some of those friendships. I have had the privilege to work with some amazing and inspirational students that have inspired me to be a better person. I have been challenged on multiple levels, and supported in many different ways. My patience, energy, and stamina has been tested to the limits, and I have proven to not only myself but many others that I can do it. I am enough. And the work I do hopefully shows this.

Whether you are staying at your current institution, moving a state away, or about to embark on a cross-country move, make this next year the best one yet. For all of those beginning your professional career in the fulfilling Student Affairs field, make this first year an adventure. Ask those questions, make those mistakes, challenge yourself, support your students, and above anything else, keep your heart open to whatever the journey ahead presents. For those of us about to begin our second year, let’s use all that we have learned in the past year or so to improve not only our lives but the lives of the students we work with. And let’s continue to ask questions, make mistakes, challenge ourselves, support our students, and continue to keep our hearts open to whatever this next year brings. And if a day ever gets you down, remember that you always have the support of many fellow Student Affair-ers to pick you back up and dust you off. And if anything, you can always just turn up a good song, dance around your apartment, and just keep smiling. All you can do is all you can do, and that is enough.

Congratulations to all those recently graduated colleagues out there who have had the chance to accept a position for your first job! For those still looking- don’t worry, there are so many jobs out there, and the right one is out there waiting for you to be matched up! And to all those who are around the one year mark for our first professional job- Congrats! We made it. Here’s to many, many more! 

Katie Ericson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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