Today I wanted to talk to you all about the Conference I attended this past weekend. It was entitled "Student Affairs Matters: High Impact Learning Outside the Traditional Classroom," and it was hosted by Binghamton University. This was the first conference I've ever attended and the presentations and conversations I had were very insightful and I wanted to share those with you here!
Student Affairs is a Calling
So, our Keynote Speaker, Dr. George Kuh, opened his presentation with this thought: People who work in college student affairs do it because they are called to it. It is not a job they seek out from middle school or high school, but it is something that they are called to do in this world. As a future college student or as a parent of a college student, you should be incredibly happy about this. The people that are going to help you succeed in college and who are going to be there through your trials and triumphs are there because they want to be. Student affairs professionals, myself included, are in this position because we want to help students succeed and provide them with the resources they need to graduate from college and safely enjoy their time!
Experiential Learning is Important
"The institution a student attends or the major they study is not nearly as important as the experiential learning experiences they have." - Dr. George Kuh (If you're interested in College Student Affairs or college in general, definitely look him up!) What is experiential learning? These include internships, service-learning projects, studying abroad, research, and seminars/capstone courses. Without a doubt, when you graduate from college, employers are going to look at your experiences and how they can add to their business. If you leave with just an Accounting or Music degree and no outstanding experiences to support the knowledge you gained in the classroom, it is going to be a tough sell for finding a job. **Because of this, when looking for your undergraduate institution, you will want to find those universities which have experiential learning opportunities that you can take advantage of!
This may be more useful once you are in college or in your Sophomore or Junior years, but if you have a plan or idea for an event, a class, a workshop, or whatever try and find partnerships with the different offices and clubs on campus. Generally speaking, students know what students want, so use that to your advantage. Pitch your idea to administrators and organization officers to see what resources you have to make your plans bigger and better. Also, more partnerships equates a bigger budget for your event, which helps you achieve what you need for your event! This goes this same for high school students! If there is something you want to do or want to see done at your high school, then go to a teacher you trust, plan it out and then you bring it to your administration! Great Ideas + Great Partnerships = Great Projects
All in all, the conference was a great learning experience for me and I hope what I learned can help you with your ideas about college and your concerns! As always, if you have questions, concerns, or something you want covered on the blog, feel free to comment, tweet me, or e-mail me!
enjoy the chase,