Coming to Your Edge

by Dylan Ruffra

This week I was lucky enough to go to the UMR- AUCHO annual conference in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. The main theme for the conference was coming to the edge and it had a mountain vibe to it. The main keynote speaker challenged us in how we could come to our edge and try something new that we have not done before. Throughout the conference it made me think about how in my first year as Hall director, I could try something new. I am not normally a person who brings about change or likes it, but it is important that I am doing things that will help me grow as a professional. During the conference they offered different sessions, speakers and networking opportunities to help you come to your edge.

One of the first great ways that they offered new professionals to come to the edge was by gaining a mentor. They paired people that were just entering the field with people who have been in the field for a while. You met your mentor at the first lunch they had and got to share a lot useful information back and forth. I found that my mentor was very helpful in answering questions that I had about the field, being a Hall Director or the grad school process. It was neat to get someone else perspective and their advice. Through this mentorship I was able to talk to him and learn how to solve some of the things I was having trouble with.

There was a session that particularly stuck out to me and will help me come to the edge. This session’s main topic was how to program as a Hall Director and get that resident interaction that you want. It is important to me that I am going out and meeting the residents of my building. I want residents to see me as an actual person and not just someone that you have to see when you get in trouble. They were able to give great examples for programs to do as a Hall Director to go out and meet your residents. I liked that the presenter also had us get in groups and share ideas. This session let me come to the edge by letting me know how I can interact better with my residents.

The last way the conference helped me come to the edge was through hearing one of the featured speakers. The speaker that I went to gave me a huge energy burst and reminded me why I am in the field. Angie Lee was the speaker and she talked about her amazing journey and how it has led her to be a part of the CARE team in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. She seemed so positive and happy through everything she has faced. Through going to her presentation, I felt like I was getting a huge pep talk. She was so full of energy and so personable to talk too.

Going to this conference gave me different ways to help me improve in the work that I am doing. It gave me techniques and connections to help me do things differently in my hall and in my position as well. This conference also gave me ideas of what other universities were doing and how I could implement them on my campus. It was good to see other colleagues and hear about how their experience was going. Going to this conference help rejuvenate me and overall will give me that strong boost to finish the semester strong.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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