Second Year Experience

What’s up Second Years!

Whether you’re a graduate student or a student affairs professional heading in your second year, we can assume that it is in the second year you are expected to know how to do your job and understand your responsibilities. . We’re expected to have learned from our experiences and taken notes to not repeat the same questions and make the same mistakes. It’s year two!

During my undergraduate at UAB, I participated in the marching band. As a first year at practices the upperclassman would every now and then allow a common first year excuse, “I’m just a freshmen.” I sure used it then. I’m willing to bet that some of the readers on this blog used it in their first year as a student or professional in regards to their roles in higher education.

After that first year marching, I quickly saw and understood how the excuse “I’m just a freshmen” was NOT acceptable at a practice or on game day. To be seen as an upperclassman and to model the way for first years we had to be the example. In addition, set the tone.

Earlier this month I celebrated my one year anniversary in prepping for the first few weeks of events I participated in as a staff member one year earlier. Moving into my second year as a professional, I definitely have already seen the marks of being a seasoned professional. And I’m alright with admitting that it’s a weird feeling to know that there are new professionals on our team that I have to be the example and reach out to them just as I was reached out to when I started.

There’s a new pressure with being a second year from our supervisors. They know we’re in the second year and they might have new responsibilities or higher standards for your work. There’s also new pressure from students. They no longer see me as a first year learning a new system, they’re looking for best guidance as transitions affect them as much as it does any staff member with our roles.

I’m looking forward to stepping into a few new experiences this second year! We’ll see how it goes. Fall semester has already started and programs have already come and gone. Trying to make it count!

And last, what I purposely waited to mention about the second or third or fourth year – New Roles. To quote an old public relations professor, “You’ve got to move up or out.” I won’t say in this blog what I’m planning to do over the next few years as I honestly have no idea. But I also am highly aware that this is prime time that many second years might begin searching for a new position within or outside the institution. The second year already is proving to be just as confusing and interesting to me as it was during my first year. Then again, maybe these life decisions are just that, they follow us all through life, no matter where we choose to work or live.

Joshua Wilson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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