At My First National Conference (Part II)

By: Luis H. Garay
@LuisHGaray

This week and next will be the second and third part highlighting my first time at a national conference. For part one, see here: http://www.studentaffairsfirstyears.com/2013/09/just-registered-for-my-first-national.html?q=Luis+h+Garay

I am writing my blog post this week from San Antonio, Texas. Until November 6th I will be here for the NODA Conference 2013. NODA is the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in higher Edication. This is my first national conference and I can't put into words how excited I am! It is Sunday evening and I have just gone through the Graduate Student Symposium and the opening banquet. I wanted to use this blog post to talk about my experiences and thoughts of the conference so far.

In reflecting on the Graduate Student Symposium, it's crazy to think 14 hours ago this part of the conference began. It feels like forever ago but it just goes to show you how much has happened to me today. First, shout-out and snaps are in order for the NODA Graduate Student Network (GSN). They put on such a great symposium! I appreciate your time and commitment to developing and informing us NODA graduate students. Two big take a ways from the symposium: professional philosophy and the job search.

On the professional philosophy, it was my first time having to really think about putting my values into a philosophy. I know what I value for myself in this profession but to begin to craft my values into this philosophy was really beneficial. To put it on paper made it even more real. Sure, it's not perfect and it's definitely not the final result but it is something to work towards. I am going to commit time post-conference to really craft my professional philosophy. Not only crafting but printing it off and putting it on my desk. In this way I have something to guide me.

The GSN did marvelous work in providing us with resources to prep the second years for the job search. It was not only great to see that I was on the right track for where to look for job postings but also learning about some new resources. One tidbit that a new professional shared with us which will stick with me: the job search is about best fit. Yes, it is about the skills, experience, and knowledge that I or any job seeker brings to position but the fit is another crucial part. To me this reiterated the importance of intentionality when it comes applying for jobs. Again, it was helpful for me to put some non-negotionables on a paper. It was able to really commit to what I really wanted from my first job post my grad program.

I think that is all my thoughts for this week. I have an early day for the first day of the conference. Trying to get in as much sleep as possible!

Any tips to share with a first timer national conference goer like me? Any SAFirstYears readers at NODAC 2013? Let's connect! Tweet me at @LuisHGaray

Student Affairs - the First Years

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