Reflect, relax, and just do you

We are under pressure as student affairs professionals like never before.

You can thank me later for the Queen ditty that is stuck in your head right now.

We are on information overload. As if the pressure for new grads to get a job is not enough to make one’s head explode, there are now added pressures in our field.

To write

To read

To be published

To have a side gig

To be professionally involved

To go to this conference or to go to that conference

To be on Twitter (and use it often)

To always be in the know for fear of missing out

To have a sponsor

To always be able to answer “what’s next” for you even if you have just started the next phase of your journey or are perfectly content with where you are.

To start an #sadoc program

To do research

To be a Vice President (and climb that ladder quickly)

Where does this pressure come from? I have struggled with this question for a while. Perhaps, it is largely internal – the drive or want to do the things these folks you admire,want to be like, or are (gasp) competing with are doing. I appreciate that our field is small. I love that I have a strong network of professional colleagues friends because of it. I know some people who are doing some amazing things (like Sue, Mallory, Matt and Valerie, or Paul Gordon Brown for example). I both admire and envy these people.

Or maybe, we pressure other people into this through social media, classes, and actual pushing (i.e. Hey you should really start a blog. Seriously. Start writing now. – kind of “advice”). I worry even more that we do this, albeit unintentionally, to our students. Join this club, apply to be an RA, go to grad school, run for this position, go to this workshop. We create this pressure  to compete – to do or fall behind.

We are a field of generally good people who want to help. We have taken that need/ability to want to help to a new level. Let’s slow it down. You do you, I will do me. More importantly, take it easy on yourself. Do what is important to you. Do your job and do it well. What else you choose to do with your time and how else you choose to engage in the field is up to you. After all your blog, digital identity, side gig, etc. etc. etc. is all for nothing if you are not good at your job or are generally miserable.

Let’s be ok with giving each other a gentle nudge now and then framed in a compliment, but back off when that person is not interested. I owe this site to the gentle nudge of Ed Cabellon, the voice to write this post to Mallory, and one of my best/most favorite ideas to Sue. Their advice was based on a foundation of knowing me, my skills, and my interests and not based in an “everyone is doing it” kind of approach. The distinction is of profound importance.

Let’s make 2015 the year to reflect, relax and just do you.


4 thoughts on “Reflect, relax, and just do you

  1. Thank goodness you’re writing again. I’ve missed you!

    I think what resonated with me most in this post is the constant barrage of questions you highlighted, normally focused on “what’s next?” – as if where we are now, in this moment, isn’t valuable or good (enough). I’ve been facing not just the “what’s next?” types of questions but also the “what now?” queries, as in, what are you doing RIGHT NOW?! There is such pressure to do and perform, but it’s based on a very narrow and often unattainable ‘standard’ that comes from seeing only one ‘right’ path. I’m thrilled your voice is in the conversation that is emerging in the field about being you first – you without the title, the accolades, and the accomplishments. I still don’t know who ‘I’ am yet, but I love that there is more space for me to figure it out.

    • Agreed! Yes, it is important to think ahead, but that should be a personal reflective process and not something we owe in an explanation to anyone else. I get that much of this comes from a place of pushing as a compliment. However, without truly knowing the person you are pushing, you could be adding to this pressure. This is my basic hesitation with the idea of sponsorship. Once you’ve figured out how to figure it all out, please let me know!

      Thanks, as always, for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  2. […] Twitter is a fraction of a piece of your personal/professional reputation: Your work is most important. Tweets won’t get you a job or help you get promoted. Lack of a Twitter presence or voice does not make you a bad professional. Use it how and if you want. You do you. […]

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