Here It Goes Again


As I am about to commence my 3rd year as a professional, I thought about how to make this year a bit different from the rest. I’ve been an active participant on several committees, and was appointed to the university’s hearing panel this year. There are many things I would like to get involved in on a larger scale within Student Affairs. The main three things I want to work/improve on are expanding my network, research, and public speaking. 

Networking
This week, I made a step forward in my pursuit of involvement. I joined NASPA! Joining a national organization will provide me with a multitude of opportunities to learn more about the field of Student Affairs. I have already reached out to several knowledge communities, and have completed an interest form for other opportunities in Region IV East. I feel invigorated for doing this little step, and I hope that it propels my motivation for the upcoming fall semester.

Research
Research is another aspect I’m interested in. I don’t know if there is something as starting research too early in one’s career, but I’m quite anxious to do something special for my department. As a multicultural programming office at a predominantly White institution, I hear my students consistently saying that there aren’t events and activities on campus for them. Sometimes I feel as though I can’t connect with what they mean because I was overly involved on campus as a student. I want to see what other institutions that have a large multicultural population do for their student activities and multicultural programming efforts. I believe that maybe we are missing out on some important factor in getting students to engage with multicultural programs at UNI. 

Public Speaking
Eventually, I would love to start presenting at conferences. I do well with public speaking in most instances, but I could always use the practice. When I started my current job I considered joining my local Toastmasters group. They give you a random topic to speak about right on the spot and it’s supposed to help you be quick on your feet and just be comfortable in a public speaking setting. It’s one of the top phobias of the world, but public speaking is an important skill in our field. I have only done one conference presentation in my career thus far. Maybe my little research project this semester can be put into a presentation format someday.

My mentor Drake (my post last week was about him) gave me advice last summer after completing my first year in the field. I asked him “What’s next?” He said the first year is for observation. The 2nd year is about taking your first few steps. Your third year is about molding and improving your craft, and by year number 4 you can start to make waves. If people accept what you have to say in a means to contribute and improve your services to students, great; and if they don’t, then you need to consider what is going to work for you and consider moving on. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get more involved in my field in an effort to improve my professional abilities and skills. 

10 more days until classes begin…

2012-2013, bring it!

Song of the week: “Here It Goes Again” by OK Go http://youtu.be/dTAAsCNK7RA

Tabatha Cruz
@tabatha_cruz 

Student Affairs - the First Years

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