Thoughts From the First Year

What's up First Years:

The beautiful thing about this blog is that we deliver multiple perspectives of the first year experience from a diverse cohort of writers. By no means am I an expert on the first years experience. But I can say that I find and continue to see the need to share true experiences with student affairs professionals.

Below are an accumulation of a few of my thoughts from the First Year:
  • No one can go through this experience alone. Colleagues, cohort, friends, and family all played a role in my success in the first years. It’s only when I take away those relationships that I see just how powerful their impact.
  • The value of your work is based on your effort. I am a part of an awesome team, but I realize that what I get from my experiences will be from what effort and put into it. For example, our office does Summer Programming. For whatever reason, I felt as if I had to give summer programming as much love as I would a fall/ spring semester program sponsored by our office. That love paid off in the end with good attendance numbers.
  • Relationships matter. It’s a small field. Not by size but by connections. I rarely make it to a conference, networking event, or social gathering where I cannot make connections with other student affairs persons. Just recently at a conference that I did not think to associate with student affairs professionals was packed by “our people.” Great relationships can lead to great partnerships in the future.
  • It’s never too late to learn something new. Don’t let inexperience stop you from reaching your goals. I’m the type of person that will ask if I don’t know something, and it will kill me to do so.
  • Let time do its thing. The transition to professional was much harder than the transition from undergraduate to graduate student. In graduate school I had an amazing cohort of young professionals at the same level as myself. The transition to professional did not come with as many young professionals as myself. This would play a bigger role than I realized my first year.
  • Use your Voice. In my work environment I can fortunately share my thoughts in group discussion and make suggestions where possible. Where I feel more comfortable now with my team, I can remember the first time I added to the team experience
Get ahead. This summer my goal was to get ahead that when the students came back I am prepared and ready to engage them as students. Getting ahead in work has only made life easier. This is not always the case, but when I am ahead I am more affective in other areas associated with my role.

Whatever you do in the first years, I believe it important that we continue to move forward in our career. Join a new committee, volunteer for a project, and keep moving forward. Good luck fellow first years.

Joshua Wilson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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