Prior to becoming a graduate assistant in New Student and Family Programs here at BSU, I had never been exposed to the inner workings of what it meant to be a Student Affairs Professional. Through the generosity of the department, I was given the opportunity to attend the NASPA Region 1 Conference 2014 in Newport, RI to gain some insight into the world of Student Affairs. Having been my first conference where I was among fellow graduate students and working professionals, I found it somewhat overwhelming at first to acclimate to the pace of the conference while simultaneously attempting to absorb all the knowledge I could.
For me, it was the first session on the second day of the conference that had the most impact, not only on the rest of my experience at the conference, but my life going forward. “The Mindful SAP (Student Affairs Professional),” facilitated by Anne Hopkins Gross, Dean of Students at Southern Vermont College was an inspiring session about the importance of being mindful, of being present, and of learning how essential it is to let things go. As Anne mentioned, “Are the little things really going to matter in a day, a week, a month, or a year?”
Prior to this conference, I found myself more “mind full” than “mindful,” and still do most days. I am thankful to this session for exposing me to the difference between the two however, as it allowed me to be more present for the rest of the conference, make great connections, and have a lot of fun.
As a result of the “Mindful SAP” session I have adapted the mantra of “let it go” used in times of stress (immediately followed by the entire Frozen rendition on repeat in my head). Embracing a more mindful lifestyle has led me to become less overwhelmed by new experiences and more prepared to engage myself in the opportunity. In just a few short months, I have noticed a tremendous difference in my composure from working my first August Orientation (pre-conference) where I felt a little out of place to January Orientation (post-conference) where I felt self-assured and completely present. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this NASPA conference and learn just how important mindfulness and personal wellbeing is to the one’s success not only this field, but in life as well.
*above image obtained from Anne Hopkins Gross “The Mindful SAP” presentation.
Graduate Assistant, Office of New Student and Family Programs
Bridgewater State University