A very enterprising Student Affairs professional recently sent me an email:
“Since the end of the academic year has gone by I wanted to check in with you and seek some advice. What are some things you suggest ResLife / SA pros do, think about, etc. as they enter the summer? What are some things you have found useful?”
Great question! As we close another academic term and make preparations for a new year to begin here are some things you can do to maximize your summer
1) Catch up on reading! Check out the Chronicle of Higher Education every morning and select a few industry-related books to read. Use this knowledge to inform your future presentations and departmental training sessions.
2) Develop your professional development plan for the next academic year including conference attendance, on-campus educational opportunities, an outline of what areas you want to present on regionally and nationally, and a list of topics to write about for possible publication.
3) Update your resume. Make sure it completely captures all of the opportunities and projects you have completed during the previous academic year. It is easy to let this fall off the radar. Be sure it is current and reflective of all of the good work you have done!
4) Consult with your supervisor about what additional responsibilities you can take on for the upcoming year. Each year you should acquire progressively responsible duties as you grow in the position. What opportunities are you looking for in the upcoming year?
5) Work with your budget manager to learn how departmental funds were spent this year. As we approach the end of the fiscal year, take some time to learn what areas were over-spent, and which were under-spent in order to get a better sense of the fiscal process for your department. This is a great free professional development opportunity!
6) Work on transitional documents and reports. Even if you are returning to the exact same position next year, be sure to capture all that was done in your particular area this year in order to someday pass that knowledge forward. We don’t always do a great job in Student Affairs about documenting our history, tradition and operating procedures. Stop the cycle and add to the body of knowledge about how our work is completed.
7) Find closure. Easier said than done, I know, but celebrate your victories, forgive yourself for the failures of the year and be ready to approach the new year with a clear mind, happy spirit and positive outlook.
What other tips would you suggest for maximizing the most of your summer in Student Affairs?
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