Learning the New Ins and Out

by Dylan Ruffra

At the beginning of July I began my journey to becoming a #SAPro.  Last month, I started my first full-time position in Higher Education, as an Area Coordinator for Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). It has been an interesting change to go from a Graduate Hall Director to an Area Coordinator. I think the biggest adjustment is having a 7.5 hour work day instead of just 3 or 4 hours. Boy do I love waking up at 7 AM everyday!! The biggest think that let me know I was a full time professional was sitting through a hour and a half human resources meeting and almost having no clue what they were talking about. I literally felt like I was in the Charlie Brown classroom and hearing that teacher talk. Overall, my first month has been a great start and has thought me many things.
Going to a new university and working in a different department has reinforced my flexibility skills. There has been a lot of new information to take in and different times to practice what I am learning. Not every department is going to do everything the same way, so it is important to be flexible and learn the best way to do things. With my flexibility skills, it has helped for me to remember to stay positive. As I am learning new things I may not agree with how things are done, but complaining is not going change anything. When things are being explained it has helped to ask why we do things and how it helps the students. Not only has being flexible helped myself in my job, but it has helped me know how to create a good supervisory relationship with the graduates students I supervise (this also a new experience for me).
The biggest asset to my success has been having great resources. Coming to a new university where I literally know no one can be a tough experience. My colleagues at MTSU have been helpful in trying to answer any questions that I have. They have been doing the position I am in for a couple of years now, so they have a wealth of experience. I have also used my resources by not trying to recreate the wheel. As I was in a somewhat similar position last year it has helped by not having to recreate all my expectations and important documents. I have been able to update my old documents or have documents passed on to me from my colleagues. It has been helpful to have many resources to help support my growth in my new role.

So far my time at Middle Tennessee has been a great experience where I can learn new things. I cannot wait to see what the next couple of years have in store and how I can enrich different student’s experience.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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