NACADA 2017: Rejuvenation and Rededication

by Olivia Miller
@olive9124

In October I attended the 2017 Annual NACADA conference in St. Louis, my second annual conference since becoming a professional. Last year I wrote about my experience as a new advisor attending my first large conference and many of the things I felt after last year I am feeling once again. With a year under my belt, and having attending last year’s conference, I felt more prepared and determined to make the most out of my attendance, and was strategic with my goals for this conference – increase my involvement with NACADA (specifically within the commissions and interest groups I have joined within the association), make connections with other advisors, and bring back applicable information to my campus – both for my own office, college and our university-wide advising group (AAA).

The major difference between attending this conference last year and this year was getting involved. I volunteered for a shift every day of the conference except for one. I signed up to volunteer for the Hospitality Desk two days, as well as served as a session host for two other days. These volunteer shifts automatically connected me with other advisors as I assisted and directed people where to go and collected session feedback. In addition to these volunteer shifts I attended a preconference workshop which was easily my favorite part of the conference. This workshop was focused on scholarly writing, with just 5 attendees and presented by the co-editors of the NACADA journal. As one of my goals is to publish with NACADA this workshop was a great start to my conference. I made connections with the other workshop attendees and now have contacts within NACADA as well.

The other highlight of the conference for me were the sessions that connected me with other advisors or gave insight to gaining further experience within NACADA. In NACADA you can join Commissions or Interest Groups – with over 30 categories based on your area(s) of interest or experience. Earlier this year I joined the Liberal Arts Advisor Commission and the New Advising Professionals Interest Group and attended both meetings at the conference. The Liberal Arts Commission meeting was another small, but might group of attendees and I was again able to connect with advisors, and had the opportunity to sign up for experiences such as the Steering Committee and proposal reviewer. In addition to these meetings, I attended two panels – one on mentoring within the profession and another on how to gain leadership within NACADA. Both panels were insightful and provided me with information that I will use to guide my path within NACADA. In addition to this, each region has a meeting as well and I attended Region 6 where again I signed up to be a regional conference proposal reviewer, and found out that the Nebraska state liaison position is up for election – which I am considering putting my name on the ballot.

Lastly, I was able to attend two sessions that I plan on fusing for a conference proposal for the AAA conference our university hosts each February. Along with publishing with NACADA, presenting at a conference (at any level) is a goal of mine and these two sessions confirmed that I have an idea to pursue and proposal to submit.

As our keynote speaker emphasized four R’s – Reflection, Rejuvenation, Rededication, and Reconciliation, this year’s annual conference had me applying these R’s once the conference was over. I have reflected on my goals and my experiences, and I again feel rejuvenated by attending and rededicated to my profession in academic advising and with my professional home within NACADA. I hope each of you have the opportunity to attend a conference hosted by your professional association so you can feel rejuvenated and excited about our profession all over again. Happy Student Affairs Month!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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