Passion, Courage, & Belief

by Jenni Kraft
@jenniwithanik

Imagine being in a room with 14 other professional faculty and staff members charged with researching and developing the 5 year strategic plan and realizing that you are the only one with a background in student affairs. This was my realization the year after I had graduated from my master’s program. This was such an impactful experience due to a few circumstances. The first was my sincere interest in contributing to this committee and its purpose. My specific interest was driven by the specific questions focused on the co-curricular experience of the college.

As I was passionate about getting more involved in this area of the college I found myself in the next circumstance; finding the courage to approach my supervisor, the Director of Student Life, to ask to be a part of this impactful committee. Surprisingly enough, after writing a proposal of interest, I was approved, as a new professional, to participate. When we went into our first meeting, as I mentioned, I realized that I was the only one in the room with a background in student affairs; I also realized that I was also the only representation from my department and the youngest by at least 10 years. As the conversations continued through the meeting, I felt the political pressures of the room and yet still felt an urgency to share my perspectives on the importance of co-curricular involvement.

For the third circumstance, I gathered the courage to share my knowledge and importance of student involvement. At first, I felt belittled when they questioned me, yet that concern turned to empowerment when I was able to answer their questions and provide theory and supply research support for the answers.

These three circumstances taught me three important lessons as a new professional: 1) Be passionate 2) Have courage 3) Believe in myself. While there are limits to each of these lessons (which I would encourage learning as well), I feel these are important to learn for those students going into our profession.

~Jenni with an “I”

Student Affairs - the First Years

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