The Student Affairs Break-Up

​As this new year begins, it’s only natural for someone like me to reflect on where I was a year ago this time and where I am now. While that blog entry could be pages and pages long, today I want to focus on wonderful beginnings coming to an end. Let me explain.

​A while ago I wrote about how I was given the opportunity to advise NMSU’s Residence Hall Association, our residence halls student government. This was something, and will always continue to be something that I am rather passionate about. While advising this group the past four and a half months, I have gained so much experience, and learned so much about my advising style. I have gotten to witness this group elect a new executive board, transition from the old to new, travel to Colorado for the NACURH conference, help plan and budget two large scale programs for Opening Week, and begin co-advising RHA with my direct supervisor, the Associate Director of Residential Life. All of these experiences have taught me more than I could explain, but they have all been both challenging and rewarding.

​This past summer I was also given the opportunity to start a Social Media Committee for our department’s Facebook and Twitter pages. This was very exciting, and a lot of work, as our department hasn’t done much exploration in that area. With the help of past SA First Years blogger Charle Cherry, I was able to communicate with the Associate Director of Marketing of our department and start creating something great with our Community Assistants. What did you create; communication through FB and Twitter?

​Oh, and during all of this, I kept having to remind myself I am employed by NMSU primarily to be a Resident Director and supervise a building of 300 residents. I tried to ignore the fact that I knew would eventually come true- I would have to choose very carefully what I would want to be involved with when the next school year came around. Well two weeks ago this conversation was had, when my direct supervisor brought it up. She told me that I would be having to choose between RHA and the Social Media committee, and it would need to be decided almost immediately. This was literally heart wrenching for me, as I had grown to absolutely love advising a student organization, but also loved the idea of the exciting new area of social media.

​Well I went on a family vacation the next day to explore the land of Yellowstone and Montana, which was just what I needed to decide what I wanted and needed to do. After much consideration (hours in the car with no phone service will do that to you), I decided that while I greatly enjoyed advising a student organization, the area of social media was one that I did not have as much experience in, and something that I would love to learn more about. I would still be able to be very involved with RHA, without having to make final decisions, and still interact with community assistants from other areas with this committee.

​The hardest part of all of this was telling the President of RHA that I would no longer be their advisor. The President and I had developed a great professional relationship, and I had learned so much about myself and what I could do professionally just from working with her. I took her to lunch this week to tell her before I told the rest of the board. The minute I told her that I would no longer be her advisor, her face saddened and she looked a little shock. This was definitely more of a reaction than I thought I would get from her. After we chatted for awhile over some enchiladas and quesadillas, she was incredibly understanding of why I chose what I did.

​This whole while I felt as though I was experiencing an awkward and bad break up. It wasn’t something that I wanted to do, disconnect myself from these amazing students, but it was something I needed to do to grow as a Student Affairs professional. The whole conversation I just kept wanting to say the dreaded phrase, “We will still be friends,” because I knew that even though I wasn’t RHA’s advisor anymore, I would still be involved as much as possible, and encourage my students to also get involved. We will still talk. I will still be a support when they need it. But it’s also my time to grow and learn a new part of this field that I feel like will help me in the future.

​And really, it is me, not them. They are all so amazing! Here’s to an adventure of a new year!

Katie Ericson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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1 comment :

  1. What a choice to make! It is clear you do amazing work with students and will continue to be awesome at everything you do!


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