This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the California College Personnel Association (CCPA) Spring Institute. You can catch social media highlights curated by the folks at CCPA in this Storify post. I thought I’d share a couple of my takeaways:
Ascend to what end?
The conference theme was “Ascent: Climbing the Steps of Your Student Affairs Career,” which I found intriguing enough. Then ACPA Vice President Donna Lee (@DeanDonnaLee) delivered a dynamic lunchtime keynote and brought the discourse to another level when she asked us, “Ascend to what end?” In sharing some of her professional journey, she encouraged us to reflect on our paths, passions, and purposes. She also mentioned that ascent doesn’t always mean up, which was a helpful reminder that a professional trajectory need not be a straight slope. Sometimes I feel myself getting caught up in the race to the top and comparing myself to other people. Checking in with the question of “Ascend to what end?” reminded me to think about my values and to reflect on my journey with that lens.
If you are not a member of a local professional organization, I encourage you to find one and jump on board now! Both ACPA and NASPA have regional versions of their national organizations, and many functionally-focused groups also have presence at state or regional levels. Leadership opportunities abound at this level, and are an especially great entry point for graduate students and new professionals (plug for my CA friends – CCPA elections and appointed position applications are now open). Professional development programs from these groups also tend to more accessible, both in terms of finances and logistics, as events are typically cheaper and closer than national ones. And, of course, networking with local colleagues is fun and can be particularly useful for geographically-bound folks looking for jobs.
Shoutouts go to the CCPA Leadership Team and volunteers for putting on a great event, the California College of the Arts for hosting, all the engaging presenters and speakers, and the many enthusiastic participants.