That stopped Monday when I rounded the corner and saw exactly what it was.
( Comfort in unexpected places )
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As most of you know, I’m currently working on a master’s degree at Western Illinois University. What I’ve neglected to explain is exactly what I’m studying and why. I think if I were to tell you that I’m studying “College Student Personnel,” that still wouldn’t give you any clue as to what I’m doing. For some of you in other countries, it may even be confusing because the meaning of “college” is different for us all. Regardless of whether or not you attend a “college” or a “university,” there may be a student services division working hard to make your learning experience rewarding and enjoyable.
If I try to sum it up in a few sentences, I could say the College Student Personnel program exists to train people to become student affairs professionals. We study the organization and administration of the American higher education system, work in offices to gain experience about programming and services, and we advise and assist students with their needs. We do all of this in order to help students grow as individuals and become well-rounded members of society. But having said that, I still don’t think it explains fully what the program is about.
Before I attempt to elaborate on the purpose and goals of the program, let me first explain what areas make up a university’s student affairs division. Even though every university and college is different, the student affairs division will be comprised of similar offices. For example, the Residence Life office will be in charge of managing the residence halls, the dining halls, and other services associated with living on campus at the institution. The Public Safety office is in charge of having police and other staff on hand for emergencies and to maintain campus safety. Offices such as the Career Center, the Counseling Center, and Student Activities and Organizations could be under the Dean of Students office because they offer guidance on personal growth and leadership. No matter the set up of the university, the student affairs division can be thought of as the part of campus life that deals with helping students learn about themselves while the academic divisions give them knowledge about their chosen subject area.
Going back to what I mentioned earlier, students in the College Student Personnel program are learning to be student affairs professionals. This means that someday they will be working in offices like the ones mentioned above and will be responsible for guiding students into becoming well-rounded individuals. Although our areas are different, the goals of student affairs professionals are very similar. We want students to discover their potential through opportunities for activity. This could mean becoming involved with a student organization, joining an athletic team, or participating in the various programs a university offers. All of these experiences will give students a chance to show leadership and growth. Student affairs professionals also want students to think about their strengths and weaknesses and find ways to use those strengths to their advantage or work to eliminate those weaknesses. By the end of a student’s undergraduate career, a student affairs professional hopes that student understands what he or she can do to contribute to making society a better place.
I know it sounds all “touchy-feely,” and it is in a way, but it’s also very important. For those of you who have graduated, or those of you about to graduate, think about how you feel about yourself now and what all you’ve learned. Then think about how you felt when you first started your undergraduate courses. Do you feel that you learned a lot not only about your subject but about yourself? Do you feel you’ve grown into a mature adult ready to make important decisions about the future? If so, then you’ve accomplished what a student affairs professional set out to help you do. We do it because we want to see students discover who they are and how they can use their talents to contribute to the world. We do it because we remember the people who helped us when we were lost and needed advice on difficult issues. And we do it because we too like to interact with people from different backgrounds because it helps our own personal growth. As for myself, I enjoy knowing that I've helped someone accomplish a goal and experience something new.
Well, I hope that helps explain a little bit about what I'm doing over here at Western Illinois. If you have any questions, please ask! Thanks for reading!
In honor of "Kiiroi Namida" being released nationwide tomorrow, I decided to post a translation of two things.
The first is a series of mail exchanges the boys did between each other through the Johnny's mobile phone site. But I have to apologize about something first: I dropped the ball a little on this one. -_-; I got Nino and Jun's mails, read them, and then deleted them. It wasn't until I got Aiba's that it occured to me, "Heeeey, maybe other people will want to read these." *bangs head on desk* So fellow fansisters, I apologize immensely. But please enjoy what Aiba-chan, Leader, and Sho-kun have to say!