Current Position and Institution:
Vice President for Student Affairs, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
First Position and Institution:
Hall Director, Residence Life, The University of Arizona
My first job was a wonderful experience that taught me even though I had my Master’s degree, I did NOT know everything. Career and life lessons came regularly. It was like I was enrolled in a third degree program.
From day one, my first job taught me the value of flexibility. I was hired to work in a residence hall of 400 students. In the week that it took me to drive from my parent’s home in Connecticut, to Arizona, enrollment at the university grew and I was informed that my residence hall would be all triples – housing 600 students. It was both a surprise and a wonderful opportunity to step up and provide leadership in my first year.
I also learned the value of being involved outside my department and always saying “yes.” It is easy for a new professional to become deeply involved in their home department, and one should, but I was lucky to have a supervisor who valued her staff being involved on campus outside of the department and in professional associations. I quickly became involved in a number of university-wide activities and in my professional home of ACPA, both of which grew my professional networks. In turn, my networks and colleagues provided me with further opportunities to increase and enhance my involvement. I learned that saying “yes” to things afforded me with opportunities to advance professionally, faster than I ever would have thought.
I firmly believe these career lessons and ACPA have propelled me to the position I hold today and have prepared me for a long career supporting student success.
The #SATBT series asks higher education and student affairs professionals to share a picture and reflect on a memory and/or one of the most important lessons the learned from their first job in the field.
Consider contributing your story for potential inclusion in the book version…