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Practical Tips to Reflect and Plan for New Professionals!

By Sue Ann Huang & Kristen Wong, NPGS Liaisons

For many of us, how we view our roles in student affairs at the end of the academic year versus at the start when everything is exciting and we’re not as drained, is entirely different.  Whether you’re a graduate student or a new professional, you’ve probably been swamped the last few weeks (and might have a few more hectic ones ahead if you’re on the quarter system).  Now that the academic year is soon coming to a close, it may be a good time to pause and reflect and also take the opportunity to think about how to use your summer productively.

For Sue Ann, having gone directly from her undergraduate to graduate education and then to her first full-time job, as well as Kristen, who spent a few years working in between getting her degrees, it has definitely been a whirlwind experience.  We were forced to reflect in our graduate classes pretty consistently, but for some reason there does not seem to be time set aside for that once we started working full-time in Student Affairs.  For us, as new professionals, we’ve realized that so much learning can happen in one academic year. Yet, if we’re not taking the chance to reflect in a timely manner, how many opportunities do we miss out on in the future?

How many times during the academic year do you have a great thought for a new project during a meeting that you do not have time to actually think through and implement?  How many times do you wish you had the time to do more than just skim the data you have collected for assessment purposes?  Over the course of this year, have you wanted to revamp an existing program or think differently about how you’re building community in your residence hall? 

In our field, we value reflection and ask that our students do it all of the time.  Now is a great time to take our own advice! Reflecting now can lead to a more intentional 2013-2014 academic year.  We’ve created a Year in Review and Summer Planning Reflection Worksheet to help with this process now that things are hopefully starting to calm down a bit (sorry, Orientation folks!).  We also encourage all of you to talk to a colleague about your experiences and share your ideas and sources of inspiration! Attached are the worksheets for you to save, print, and complete! For access click on the forms below:

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