As I sit here a full 7 days away from the start my first professional position in student affairs, I cannot help but think about the people who I’ve relied on over the last 7 years to provide me with guidance, support, encouragement and more recently, some necessary tough love. I recently had the opportunity to go back to Milwaukee on a mini staycation. While I was on campus I ran into the people pictured above: Becca, Jen and Warren who are all leaders in student affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, my undergrad.I’ve known Jen the longest; she’s the Director of the LGBT Resource Center and I worked with her when I was LGBTQ Issues Director for the student government. Since then, she has always been a phone call away when I have random ideas about research or need an opinion on a professional move that I want to make. Warren is the Assistant Director of the LGBT Resource Center and he was someone who taught me how to form effective partnership. I’m not sure that he knows it, but when I was an undergrad I usually looked to him during meetings to see what I should be doing or what I missed in the conversation; now I have the pleasure of reading his hilarious Facebook posts and learning about how to be a better social justice advocate.
Becca who is currently the Interim Assistant Director for the UWM Student Union was my supervisor in the Union Recreation Center for three and half years, but I first got to know her when I was working for event security in the Union. Becca was the person who told me that working in student affairs was a possibility and the one who helped me create a plan to be come a professional in the field. A lot of the things that make up my supervisory philosophy come from things that I’ve learned from Becca and I know that my supervises have benefited from her supervision of me.
Another person who I know from UWM who isn’t in the picture, but really should be is Liz Gross (check out her blog). Liz used to head the marketing office at UWM University Housing but is now the Director of Marketing & Communications at UW-Waukesha. When we were both at UWM, I used to drop by Liz’s office to talk or get advice or just to cool off. As I started planning to pursue grad school and an assistantship, she gave me valuable advice that helped me land my assistantship. Since then, she has put up with my slightly neurotic texts and phone calls about my latest job search and I get to hear about her experience in a doctoral program.
The reason I’m writing this is partly to acknowledge a few of the people who have helped me along the way and also to remind anyone reading this to thank the people who have helped them. Regardless of your field, I’m sure all of you have a mentor to thank and now might be a good time to send them some gratitude.