Hello from Phoenix, Arizona!
I’ve been in this city since early Friday morning (which necessitated a 2AM shuttle pick-up that morning). It’s been a fantastic experience, partially because of the weather, partially because I’m not sick this year, and mostly because being surrounded by so many other student affairs professionals and interested students is incredibly re-energizing.
I spent the weekend attending and helping out at the annual International Symposium, which is a pre-conference event bringing together practitioners from around the world to discuss current issues in global education. I had the chance to speak with several other graduate students in the field, as well as professionals from around the US, England, Pakistan, Germany, and Australia (to name a few). One of the keynote speakers talked about the journey he is currently on, which is–quite simply put–establishing a brand-new university in Pakistan. (More to come in future posts about that.) Being around a pathway like this is so eye-opening to a graduate student and new professional. It again gives me something to which I can say, “I never even knew that was a possibility.”
Digressing a bit, I have to also say that sharing these unknown possibilities with students is going to be a primary thread in how I approach my work. Whether it is transitioning into college or into a new institution (transfer students), or urging students to contribute to literature on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders in higher education, or even exploring new career paths, I want to be able to present new opportunities to my students.
I have seen how theory influences practice through various presentations at this conference, how change can be difficult and slow yet so critical to student success. I have begun to identify areas where I believe I can make contributions: international education, transfer student services, commuter student services, AAPI issues, and how all of these issues translate to the two-year, community college world. I am swimming in ideas–yet I am also aware, by the presence of NUFPs (NASPA Undergraduate Fellows) and other graduate students and professionals, that there are colleagues who yearn to collaborate and contribute.
I have much more to share with you all in the next month or so before my Master’s defense. I hope to have even more to share afterwards.