So I think it's time for us to have a toast..

by Susan Mathieson

Let's have a toast for my mentors, let's have a toast for my family, let's have a toast for SA Pros, every one of them that I know.

Last weekend I was blessed with some free time and was able to finally work on a craft that has been on my mind for ages. Over the last four year in Student Affairs, I have had the opportunity to attend numerous conferences and leadership institutes – each one I was supplied with a name tag. A few months ago, I began feeling like a bit of a hoarder and decided I either needed to do something with my name tags or I needed to toss them. During one of my Pinterest raids, I found a post where runners decoupage their bibs to wooden letters. I knew immediately this was my next project.

As I was gathering up all of my name tags in preparation, I found myself reminiscing on each of the experiences in front of me. I was engulfed in gratitude for all of the people in my life that had supported me and believed in me enough to have had all of these opportunities. At a presentation a few years ago I was told that leadership is telling the people that made an impact on your life that they have done so and I feel like this is as good as a time as ever!

So here are a few shout outs to those that truly impacted my professional career:

Thank you to everyone at Delta Phi Epsilon who believed in me and started me on this incredible professional journey. Thank you Kendra for believing in me as a recent graduate, when I am not sure I believed in myself. Thank you to Emily for supporting me as I made mistakes and started to find out who I was as a new professional.

Thank you to my True Blue family I gained during my two years in Statesboro. Rob and Andrea – I can’t thank you enough for the weekly reminders to send my resume to Joy and pushing me until I signed up for the GRE. At that point, I had no idea I was going to gain two of the best friends I could have asked for. Jess – thank you for the two years of amazing. Thank you for understanding what I actually meant when I was “freaking out” and for encouraging me to get as involved as possible. My time at (the real) GSU is irreplaceable.

Thank you to my family – I wouldn’t be here without your tremendous support. I wanted to move 14 hours away for a graduate school experience in the south and you all encouraged me to do so. Then when I wanted to spend a summer in Texas, which meant missing Katie’s graduation – you told me I had to because of how incredible an opportunity I had offered. I know I have missed a lot over the last three years, but you all are always my number one cheerleaders, so thank you!

Thank you to the amazing horned frog friends I made during my summer at TCU. Everything happens for a reason and there was no better place for me to spend summer of 2013 than in Ft. Worth with you all. Thank you Brooke for taking a chance on me, thank you Molly and Kaitlin for Bachelorette girls nights, thank you G and Kent for teaching me spades and thank you team grad (and Natalie!) for making TCU my home.

Thank you to all of the inter/national fraternities and sororities and professional associations that have provided me with opportunities to volunteer and give back to this community. Because of you, I have had so many opportunities to make a difference and growing as a professional while doing so.
Thank you to my Charger family! You all have welcomed me with open arms over the last year and supported me more than I can describe. Thank you for constantly providing me with opportunities for growth. Nikki and Kacey – thank you for the making Huntsville a home, I am so lucky to have you both on my side!

Lastly – thank you to all of the students I have gotten to connect with over the years. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in different capacities and for helping me grow. Each interaction I have had with you has taught me something new and has helped me become a better professional and individual.

Cheers to you all! I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the love and support from you!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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