5 Tips for New Transitions

by Stefanie Lucas
@Stefanie_Lucas

For student affairs folks the summer signals a time of big transitions: new jobs, new officemates, new students, new programs and plans. The “new” can be exciting, yet you can face challenges, especially if you happen to be starting a new job in a new place. Many student affairs folks have had this experience, and I would suggest reaching out and asking mentors and colleagues about his or her experience. Here are five things I would suggest:

1. Meet folks. For some, this can be one of the most challenging parts of living in a new community. Big campuses might offer the opportunity to meet lots of folks, but a smaller campus you might find a limited amount of new student affairs professionals. A dear friend and member of my cohort moved to New Zealand for her first job and made great friends from going to meetup.com activities. There is something for all types of hobbies and interests. Reach out to friends of friends or family members in the area. It can be hard to balance friend making with work, so start early and do not get discouraged.

2. Get active in your community. Your job is not your whole life! Sometimes it might feel this way, so do yourself a favor now and establish a routine outside of work. Love softball in high school? Join an adult softball league. Have a passion for social justice? Find an organization within the community you support and volunteer a few hours a week or when you can. Simply Google volunteer and the city you live in and opportunities will pop up. Finding free things to do is pretty easy too. Lot’s of local companies have lists of activities. REI, outdoor store, lists different classes and activities like standing paddleboard for free.

3. Budget. Review and adjust your current budget or create one. Your income has likely changed and your student loan grace period will be ending soon. Can you afford cable TV and/or is it necessary? If you are not living-in anymore, how much will the water, trash, and sewage bill cost? Try and look towards the future and consider any expenses you might incur over the next year. As an example, if you recently moved to another part of the country (or world), how much will a plane ticket cost to travel home? Create an Excel spreadsheet to track you expenses, or find one online fitting your needs. Here is a good example

4. Keep reading. Though you might be tired from all the theory in graduate school, no is not the time to stop reading. Student affairs is ever changing and developing, so keep up with what folks are writing about and others are reading. In my opinion, the best way to get articles and information for free is through Twitter. Sign up for an account if for no other reason than to get information. Follow the #SAchat.

5. Set goals. Create long and short-term goals for yourself. At the same time you set goals for work, make sure you are setting up outside of work goals too. Consider some of the notes from above when you are setting the goals and make sure they are realistic. Example, for the month of July I will find and attend one meetup.com event.


Transitioning to a new place is not always easy, but often an exciting new chapter. What are some of your tips for transitioning to a new place? Feel free to reach out and ask any questions you might have about living in a new place!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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