In March, I wrote about attending a national conference and questions to ask yourself when attending a conference. Well, since then, I attended the annual national conference for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) in Baltimore, MD, and had an awesome learning experience. If you are a student in a professional organization, try to take advantage of the lower costs to attend a conference (whether it’s state, regional, or national).
The conference theme for this year was: “Be More.” Simple, right? Each session, talk, and interaction helped me to realize that I need and WANT to be more of a professional and to excel in the field of student affairs.
Here’s how I learned to BE MORE:
- When attending sessions, challenge yourself to pick topics that you don’t have experience with. The knowledge will broaden your horizons and ultimately help you understand your students even better.
- Become involved and be intentional with that involvement. Check out committees or other small groups within the larger organization. They may even have a student specific group! ACPA has the Standing Committee for Grad Students & New Professionals & I’m a part of that group (along with the Standing Committee for Women).
- Twitter can have an amazing power. I met so many people in person that I’ve been connected to online for a while now. It’s amazing to meet someone in person for the first time and to have them give you a hug as if they’ve known you forever. (true story) Plus, it was great to be the presence of great, talented, movitated, and innovative people.
- When suggesting to meet by “the escalators,” make sure to specify which set of escalators as there can be up to three sets of them on one floor. Oops.
- Take notes. You never know who you’ll be sharing the information with (co-workers, classmates, future co-workers, etc.).
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand what’s going on in the session.
- If you are worried about meeting people, volunteer at the convention and you’ll automatically make connections. I applied to be a part of the ACPA Ambassadors group which directly connected graduate students with higher level professionals involved in the inner workings of the organization.
When I reflected on the conference once it was all over I discovered that I will be more: Involved, Aware, Thoughtful, Reflective, and Present in Life Outside of Work/School.
Have you challenged yourself to BE MORE recently?