Permission to brag

I’ve written about this before: we have a branding issue in Student Affairs. We are misunderstood, and it is largely our own fault. We spend a lot of time in the classroom, on campus, at conferences, and especially on Social Media talking about this. How do we talk about what we do? How do we articulate and demonstrate our value to the academy? How do people outside of our field come to better understand what we do? I don’t have a solution, but I may have stumbled upon something, perhaps a starting point…

This morning, I was perusing my Twitter feed in the short few minutes I had before my next meeting and I stumbled on a particular tweet from my friend Jason Meier at Emerson College. He was talking about how proud he was that they addressed and discussed mental health at Orientation to begin to destigmatize asking for help. I immediately responded asking him to share what they were doing.

This is just one small example of many posts I see throughout this time of year; pictures of RA training, stories of move-in, Orientation program highlights, excitement for the start of the year, interactions with students, etc. I too find myself mostly posting about work this time of year. I do it to connect with students, but also, I am damn proud of what we do. I am proud of my team, my institution, and myself for what we accomplished during our Week One program. Here’s an example: I have posted several times about our new Consenting Communities workshop that was designed and led by students to begin to discuss the real issue of sexual assault. This program was created and led by students, with staff support. I was proud and felt the need to brag. Why does that not feel OK?


Here’s my takeaway: we need to be better at ok with bragging. Jason’s tweet and my post are small examples. They show people outside of our field that we are more than just party planners or chaperones. It provides ideas and motivation to those within our field. My plea to all of you, my colleagues, is to keep these posts coming. Don’t let this just be an August thing. Make it an all year round thing. Let’s continue to talk about issues within our field, the future of it, and share ideas, but let’s also (and especially) be OK with showcasing our work. If it feels like bragging, embrace it. You do meaningful work – share it! At least in my mind, this will go a long way towards increasing the awareness and respect of what we do.

Let’s brag: share what you are proud about from the last few weeks!


4 thoughts on “Permission to brag

  1. Well said, Tim! I’m working with a group of women on a reciprocity ring this summer, and one of the parts I’ve most enjoyed seeing is the Flaunt-It Friday, where we *make* people brag. All of us (and women have a compounded issue with this) are accustomed to not bragging because we’re told often that the work we do isn’t about us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be proud of what we do, and it *really* doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t let people know.

    I’ve committed to being better about speaking up for my accomplishments, and this is a great reminder to keep at it 🙂

    Best wishes on your first fall as a Director!!

      • It’s had elements of both. At first it was within the group, and then people started sharing that the bragging in the group had inspired them to speak up more outside the group (that was my goal, yay!). Toward the tail end, I started actively challenging people to brag outside the group, and it’s yielded some great results 🙂

  2. I love seeing accomplishments of other folks! More power to them. They’re not taking anything away (from me) so let’s join them in their celebrations. I know a lot of people who work really hard and never get the credit they deserve nor are they ever recognized.

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