By Christine Pitts

This year marks my second year as a student affairs graduate student. I can definitely say that I walked into this academic year with much more confidence and felt comfortable in my role as a graduate student. With confidence and comfort comes risk taking. I know what I can handle as a graduate student and I know the roles I want to take on to make my finally year the best year. Insert Pioneer.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary a Pioneer is someone who “helps create or develop a new idea, methods, etc”. When last spring semester came to a close and I had time to reflect on my first year I began to imagine what I would have liked to have seen or done. That was when I first had the idea of starting a mentoring program for my program’s incoming cohort. I reflected on my own experiences, as well as inquired with my cohort, and we all agreed having a mentor our first year would have assisted us with the transition, while also being a great peer support system and networking tool. After these conversations the idea of a pioneering a mentoring program struck a fire in my heart – I know it sounds so corny, but I was really excited to bring my ideas to life. I met with my faculty advisor, posed my idea and ironically enough he told me that it was something he was going to suggest. So, the spark was lit.

If you have ever been a pioneer you know that the beginning is exciting, but nerve-racking. I had a huge fear that students would not want to be involved and the whole thing would crumble. However, I was surprised and happy when both first and second year students responded positively. So, the Student Affairs Mentoring Program got off the ground.

While being a pioneer can be exciting, the process is rarely seamless. I know there is going to be some bumps along the way, because there already have, but I am very lucky to have a partner in this process whom I know I can depend on. Having supportive people working with me has built my confidence, as well as aided in making the process as smooth as possible.

Have you ever been a pioneer? Comment below or tweet me (@cpitts_) your experiences. 

Student Affairs - the First Years

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