Back to Reality in Paradise

by Eric Mason

Never say “no” to an opportunity.

This last week, I attended and presented research at the 2014 College Reading and Learning Association conference. Professional conferences offered a new ballgame for me, having never attended one before. My boss asked me to join her research project within my first week of beginning my assistantship last January. Knowing little about research and wanting to make a good impression, I jumped at the chance.

Our research presentation focused upon the application of Pareto’s Principle (more commonly known as the 80-20 Rule) to thee demographics and usage of tutoring. While my boss discovered that 80% of our student visits were done by 40% of our students. My part of the project focused on interviewing students, several of who were former regulars in tutoring later hired as staff. To all of them, a supportive, collaborative, and challenging environment acted as a lynchpin towards an effective tutoring center. At a commuter campus like UNLV, academics become more important as hubs of campus community.

Student affairs is a tiring field. Between night classes, work in the afternoons, homework, and meetings, I often average twelve-hour days on campus. It takes its toll as the semester drags onward. My passion for this field and my work increases with every day. This is my time to gain experiences and explore.

Graduate school is a double-edged sword. For every new opportunity, your resume or CV grows and free time decreases. The last few weeks have often resulted in a misbalance of priorities. Rather than focus on a dozen responsibilities a little, hone in on a few to really master. This takes time to master, and I am still nowhere close to it. Opportunities are well worth pursuing; it is just a manner of finding a balance of priorities. Las Vegas remains a remarkable learning experience, and the opportunities will definitely push me forward.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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