Change is the Opportunity to Influence

by Olivia Barker
@oliviabark

I've been pretty honest that this move has been harder than expected. I have spent the past few weeks trying to get to the bottom of my feelings and I think I finally figured it out. When I started my first position out of grad school, I knew I would have transition time. After a few months I remember telling my supervisor "okay, I'm starting to get this" and then it all kind of clicked and I was on the up and up from there. Now that I've started my new position, I am ready to get rolling and while I know how to do "my job," I realized I don't know the culture, the administration, staff and students or where I have room to influence. During a conversation with my supervisor she said, “change is the opportunity to influence." This little student affairs nugget has stuck with me and I can't stop thinking about this impactful statement.

One of my strengths is activator, so I like to get things going! It's been a challenge for me to sit back and watch instead of doing, but it's an expectation that I take time to learn, to watch and to listen. I honestly didn't mentally prepare for the transition time as a mid-level professional. I almost feel as if I have all this great information to share, but I can't just yet because I need to spend time learning my new environment, seeing where I can influence my students, my department and my university. I am more afraid of not having an influence on the work I do, than I am of change.

If you are afraid of change, remember you have the opportunity to influence. Doesn't that make you want to strive for change? This move has been a big challenge which makes me wonder...does this mean the opportunity to influence is even bigger? It is okay to take some time to sit back and learn, but be sure during that time you are looking for the potential to influence.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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