Last week I had the privilege of attending the NASPA annual conference in New Orleans. It was an amazing experience in every way and I feel so incredibly lucky to work for a place that truly values professional development!
The conference was 2.5 days worth of sessions, lectures, roundtables, and displays. I learned a good deal (concepts, processes, etc) I never knew before, and I became incredibly inspired about what I could potentially bring back to my position. I attended sessions on everything from professional blogging to Peer Education to non-cognitive advising models & the future of social justice work in Student Affairs. My favorite session was led by my Student Affairs hero, Rey Junco, who talked about social media and digital identity development. It was absolutely riveting and has me rethinking the ways I interact with our student population!
The conference also allowed me to network with a lot of amazing people. I was able to meet some Student Affairs twitter connections in real life, I got to chat with some current employees of Ohio University which I got all jazzed about, and I got to spend some quality time with colleagues at other Colorado institutions. I love learning about what people do and what they love about their jobs. There are so many potential positions for me out there that I never even knew existed until I talked to people currently doing them!
NASPA provided free professional headshots for anyone that wanted them, so of course I obliged. I think they turned out fairly decently!
And they also hosted the Dear World campaign. The goal is to reflect on your personal story and to write a message that somehow captures or reflects it. It took me a long time, but I finally came up with what I wanted to share:
This sentiment completely captures me in a nutshell (a completely separate blog post) and I love how the photo came out.
And, of course, the conference was in New Orleans. The pictures I took do it not one iota of justice. I’ve never been to a city outside of Cleveland and Denver that immediately felt like home until this. The city exudes history, character, culture, strength and triumph. Every second I spent walking the city was nearly euphoric. I cant wait to go back.
I also ate some of the best food in my ENTIRE LIFE. From red sauce pasta primavera with fresh okra to fried eggplant with lemon aioli, to red beans and rice, and of course hurricanes and beignets… I was so very happily full.
But one of the best parts was getting to know my colleague, Megan, even better. We’ve worked together for over a year, but never really connected and got to truly understand each other. After 3 days of pretty consistent hanging out, my heart has become so open to her and I actually consider her a friend even more than a coworker. We’re way more alike than I ever knew, right down to our adventurous spirits. And we had so much fun.