6 Month-A-Versary

By Susan Mathieson


I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, but one of those things is celebrating my 6 month mark in my new role. I have been so fortunate to spend the last 6 months getting acclimated to a new state, connecting with an amazing community of fraternity and sorority members, learning from amazing professionals and enjoying the time spent with the best coworkers (Nikki & Kacey, thanks for becoming my second family!). But as I approach this milestone, I find the need for self-reflection and feedback from those around me.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” – Leo Tolstoy

I stumbled across this quote recently and it truly resonated with me as this milestone approaches. Getting settled into a new role involves a few learning curves and, unfortunately for me, that meant I was not able to accomplish all of my goals for this fall semester. I have critiqued students for not taking the time to think about their goals, their accomplishments and how they can improve – so I suppose it’s time I take my own advice.

Here is how I plan to reflect:

Write out (and color code) goals. First and foremost, I am going to start with good old self-reflection. I’m going to sit down with my multi-colored pens and paper, and write out what my original goals were, what steps were taken towards them, what work and what did not, and evaluate if these goals are still feasible or necessary.

Celebrate small wins. It’s safe to say that I had not accomplish most of what I had set out to do this semester, but that does not mean that I didn’t accomplish things. I have to remind myself to celebrate and praise myself for the great work that I have done. Just because a goal isn’t checked off a list, doesn’t mean important steps weren’t taken towards that goal. I have to remember that I need to celebrate the impact I had indirectly, or not tied to a goal. I did not start the semester with a goal to inspire sorority women to take a bigger role in our community, but I had. And because of that, we are beginning to see a positive culture of change within our Panhellenic Association.

Meet with my supervisor. While my supervisor and I meet on a frequent basis, many of our conversations revolve around updates on the state of the communities I work with, changes in procedures or guidelines and brainstorming programs/resources. I have scheduled a meeting with her to solely focus on reflecting on the summer/fall months. See will have great insight about how I can move forward from there and help me identify key strengths/weaknesses in my work that I may have missed.

Create an opportunity for students to provide feedback. Key constituents in our work as SA professionals are none other than,you guessed it, our students. Through one on one meetings, anonymous surveys and open forums, I am providing students with an outlet to give feedback about my office and the work being done.

Create Action plan. Lastly, there was no point to all of the self-assessment if I did not do anything with the information collected. I am going to take all of the ideas and feedback and create an action plan for moving forward. I will re identify goals and create a road map of how I plan to get there. Some of these goals may be the same as before, and there will be new goals as well.

These first 6 months flew by, and I am finally beginning to feel acclimated to my role! I am looking forward to the next 6 and what I can accomplish!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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