I have tried blogging before. I had a Blogspot blog. I had a WordPress blog too. I have created Tumblr after Tumblr but those usually turn into just me re-posting nonsense. I was looking to create a new blog based on my current endeavor as a graduate student in the field of Student Affairs. Then I can take it with me as I progress into a full-time Student Affairs practitioner. In other words, this is a professional blog. I mean, realistically, how many people are actually going to click a link to listen to me spout off at the mouth about my favorite music, TV, books, and other stuff? Besides, I already do it in short form on Facebook. Come to think of it, who wants to hear me do the same things but just about my future profession? My Twitter account is beginning to tell me otherwise. I have made connections with Student Affairs Professionals already, just because I tweet to a hash-tag. Our field is one that likes to compare, contrast, discuss, and learn. I therefore decided that My Student Affairs Life should be recorded in my new blog. A journal of my journey, if you will.
Some people who know me, are friends with me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, might not understand what I am talking about. What exactly are you studying Kyle? Well. What a question. In a nutshell: student affairs is the department or division of services and support for students at institutions of higher education. We use student development theory to gauge the needs of our students and then respond to them accordingly. We are counselors, programmers, mentors, leaders, and so much more.
My student affairs journey started in high school and I did not even realize it. I was a member of student government, the Class of 2007 committee, Project Transition, and Teen PEP. Student government and the Class of 2007 committee are self-explanatory, we planned events for the Class and were liaisons between the students and our staffulty (a term used at my high school.) Project Transition is a program that helps first year high school students transition into high school from middle school. Teen PEP, which stands for Teen Prevention Education Program, is a peer-to-peer sex, alcohol and other drugs, and social issues education group. We conducted outreach to the first year students, to other schools, and we pitched the program to other schools who were interested. I got involved in these programs because I wanted my high school experience to be a meaningful one.
When I began attending Rowan University, I began to have the same desires. I was already a student athlete, a member of the swimming and diving team. I joined Rowan’s StudentCare, a program along the lines of Teen PEP. I had a desire to continue my peer-to-peer education work and decided this was a great way. Eventually, I became a Resident Assistant and began to program with these ideas in mind. I thoroughly enjoyed my work with my residents. I had a fabulous mentor at Rowan, Ashley Elliott, who had the conversation with me that so many Student Affairs practitioners have with their student leaders: “You know Kyle, you can do this professionally.” What followed was a flurry of conferences, professional development, a gone horribly awry student teaching experience, grad school interviews, and an acceptance to study at Rutgers University’s College Student Affairs program. I had an internship offer to be the Graduate Intern for Training & Personnel in Residence Life. I assisted the Assistant Director of Staff Training & Personnel in running our undergraduate selection and training processes. This year, I began working as a Graduate Hall Director overseeing a residence hall of students, most of whom are participating in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors College learning community.
Now, we arrive at the present. As a second year graduate student, I am on my way out of my program and into the field full-time. The journey has had its peaks and valleys. I am sure there will be more as I navigate my student affairs life.