Today marks the completion of my first year in academic affairs. The last 18 months have been some of the most challenging and rewarding times of my career, but I am so thankful for the many lessons, both good and bad, that I’ve learned. In honor of this small moment in time, I decided to share some of the things I’ve discovered or been reminded of. They signify not only personal and professional advice, but the many lessons that life sometimes reminds us of.
- Everyone sacrifices something. Success requires sacrifice, but sacrifice does not look the same for everyone. Sometimes sacrifices are visible to others, but more often than not, they are unseen. Be kind and give grace, because you never know what people are dealing with.
- Talk to strangers to find yourself. Sometimes conversations with strangers can help you better understand what’s most important to you. Too often we carry the weight of our doubts and past with us, and we don’t recognize the personal growth and power we’ve gained. Strangers have a unique way of hearing things we don’t realize we’ve said, synthesizing that information and, ultimately, helping us see our growth more clearly.
- Do no harm, but take no shit. Remember to be agile, perpetually curious, and unafraid of change, but always remain true to yourself. Don’t allow others to have more control over you than you have over yourself. You are responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel and you should never assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak.
- Replace your “or” with an “and”. Take time to find connections and opportunities for effective collaboration. Too often we become a slave to the way that we want to do things or our perceptions of how others want to do things when more than likely the best solution is somewhere in between.
- Don’t trade authenticity for approval. Time has a strange way of eroding your uniqueness, in some ways blending you into the crowd or polishing your peculiar characteristics to make you shine in your own divine way. Focus on becoming the best version of yourself and not another version of someone else. You’re in this place at this moment for a reason. If the universe needed someone else, you wouldn’t be there.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve worked in higher education for nearly 15 years, but I look forward to the knowledge I will continue to gain and share along this journey. Cheers to the future!