Kardshian's Invade Student Affairs

By Susan Mathieson
Things I wish I knew my first year advising student organizations, as told by the Kardashian Klan.
1. From time to time, it’s OKAY to close your office door and to have a student to schedule a meeting to chat.

I am notorious for my open door policy – but there are times I need to ask a student to stop talking and schedule a meeting so I can be 100 percent for them and their situation!
2. Just because one organization is easier to work with, doesn’t mean they deserve more support than the rest of the organizations on campus.

There is always going to be that student organization that turns in all of their paperwork in on time and never misses a one on one, and there will always be the one that you have to hound for their updated officer form and you can’t get them to actually step foot in the office. Because of this, it’s easy to favor some groups over others, but it’s important to make sure your support for all organizations stay consistent.

3. Just as our student leaders have strengths and weaknesses – so do we as advisors.

I am great at inspiring those around me, but my organization needs a little (a lot) of help. It’s important to recognize both the strengths and weaknesses we have, so that we can capitalize on those strengths to best support our students in their endeavors. 

4. Nothing ever goes as planned, as that’s okay.

 I’ve learned that things will go awry, and we have to be prepared to deal with the curveballs that life throws our way. My first year in graduate school I was not prepared to handle situations that did not go to plan and I hate to admit that they did more often than not. I found that for me, it’s much better to over prepare and know what to do in potential situations that arise. 
5. This may be obvious – but we have to give respect to gain it.

Working with student organizations, it’s sometimes hard to support them when they make a terrible mistake. But we need to remember that they are learning, just as we once were, and that we must model the way as respectable leaders. While it’s our duty to challenge them, it’s important to do so in a manner that is respectful and supportive.

6. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins.

We have to celebrate the good that we do! It’s important to take some time for self reflection and recognize the positive impact we have had lately. That way we can remind ourselves to keep on rocking, even through those tough months (like September)!
7. Remember to have fun!  

The burn out rate is high in our field! That’s because we, as new professionals, are awful at work life balance! I think that is a course graduate programs need to include moving forward. We’ve got to remember why we joined this profession and continue to enjoy the time we have as new professionals!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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