I try to participate in Student Affairs Chat every few weeks. It is a group of Student Affairs professionals from across the country that come together electronically to discuss various issues and current topics in the field of Higher Education. While I don’t get to contribute as often as I like, I definitely consider participating in the conversation and catching up through the backchannel to be a form of professional development.

Coincidentally, yesterday’s chat topic was professional development, and it made me think about all the ways I want to improve- not just as a practitioner, but as a person. One of my friends mentioned that she plans her professional development up to a couple of years ahead, and I was completely floored by the idea. I think I’ve lived all aspects of my life in crisis mode- basically handling things as they come. I’m lucky if I can plan a few weeks or months ahead! But I was also inspired.

So, in order to set a plan to improve myself or develop, I need to know what I’m developing! People can make positive changes in their lives, but those things don’t generally happen without forethought. I decided to set a few short term goals- both personally and professionally, and figure out how to work toward them.


  • increase support in the areas of gender and sexuality on campus, specifically that of our female and LBGTIQ populations
  • increase support for students with mental illness on campus, including reducing the stigma, coordinating workshops, and making resources more visible
  • improve my curriculum writing skills for our First Year Seminar. I think I have done a good job at providing useful and relevant material- now to figure out how best to apply it in the classroom.
  • start a professional blog
  • devote more time to my creative side
  • make certain specific life changes so that I live closer to and truer to my ideals
  • do a better job of making my friends and family feel loved and appreciated
  • spend more alone time with each kid
Now I just need to tackle the how and then when. I finally broke down and bought an Erin Condren planner. I adore my outlook calendar and my iphone updates- but that really only works for immediate to-do items like meetings and appointments- they aren’t as conducive to dreaming, doodling, jotting, developing, and life planning! I had been coveting one of these planners for months and since they just went on sale for 40% off… well, I just couldn’t resist. 
I found this infographic a few months ago, and I think it is very applicable here (click to enlarge):
Moving forward, growth and developing is as much about giving up as it is about gaining. But I also love number 10, and that may be the most important reminder in all of this. Although I want to continue to improve myself, I need to also remember to live in the present. Goals are incredibly important- we would all be pretty awful people if we stayed stagnant- but we’ll never have now ever again.

4 thoughts on “(D)evelopment

  1. Jessica says:

    I feel like I set goals and then get sidetracked due to lack of planning! My hope is that planning out the steps will get me where I need to go!

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