Written By: Guest Blogger, Lori Reesor, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs, University of North Dakota
In honor of Careers in Student Affairs month, I want to share a few thoughts of why I have chosen this profession and why I believe it has chosen me.
I was a first-generation college student who only considered going to college because a high school teacher thought I had potential. Going away to college was a significant step for me. As I reflect on those four years, I am struck by all that I learned and how much I changed during that time. I had the fortune to live on-campus all 4 years as an undergraduate serving as a Resident Assistant for 2 of those years. I was also involved in a number of leadership opportunities and I enjoyed helping others and making a difference. Through these experiences I was introduced to some amazing mentors in student affairs. Upon graduation, I was fortunate to land a great position in business (which was my major). It didn’t take long before I realized something was missing for me and I was not satisfied with this role.
I returned to those mentors at my undergraduate institution and asked them to tell me more about the work they did and why. After those conversations, I met with a faculty member in a local master’s program. Our conversation inspired me to enroll in a master’s degree and pursue my calling. When I reflect on that decision today, I really did not know what it fully meant to work in higher education but as I have gone through this journey, I realized student affairs was exactly where I was meant to be.
Working with and for students is a privilege. Creating programs and services that allow them to learn, grow, and excel is challenging and exciting. While my senior-level position does not allow for as much daily interaction with students as I used to have in other roles, student success guides every decision I make. I love working in higher education because learning and inclusiveness are part of its core mission. Higher education changed my life in so many ways and every day I strive to make a difference in the individual students I work with and through the opportunities we create them for them as an academic institution. If you feel this profession is calling like you like it does me, I encourage you to explore the many opportunities available in student affairs. I encourage you to visit with a number of individuals to learn more about the work, institutional types, and opportunities that await you. Then you, too, can decide if you are being called to one of the most rewarding areas in higher education.