Welcome New NASPA Members
I entered the world of higher education professionally in 2016, but I did not find my way to student affairs until 2018. That same year, I became a member of NASPA and in March 2019 I attended my first NASPA Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California.
I was excited to be in a major city filled with higher education peers and colleagues that to learn from, but I was nervous that as a new professional everyone would have much more insight, knowledge, and experience than myself. I was also worried about attending a conference with thousands of strangers and having a hard time networking.
Despite my initial worries, I had an amazing time at NASPA and I was able to meet so many people from various institutions across the country. As someone that was recently in your shoes, I understand where your headspace may be. To help ease the anxious feeling that you may have, I am going to provide you with three easy steps as a way to become involved with NASPA.
The NASPA Annual Conference provides plenty of opportunities for student affairs professionals to network and build new connections with each other. Every conversation that you engage in is a networking opportunity. You will meet some great people and although you will like to remember every conversation that you have, it is quite impossible. Please be sure to bring plenty of business cards so that you can exchange contact information and have follow-up conversations.
Attend sessions that spark your interests and ones that can assist you with being a better professional in your current position. Challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. While you are in your sessions, interact with the professionals that are presenting, they will greatly appreciate it. Although the educational sessions are important, it is also important to take time out to enjoy the keynote speakers, opening reception, socials, campus tours and more. Your Annual Conference experience will only be as great as you make it.
If you are looking for an easier way to get involved, simply come to the conference with an open mind and be receptive to others around you. Be willing to volunteer and give up a little bit of your time to help others. Among the ways that you can get involved this year are by volunteering to help with registration and check-in, accessibility, or volunteer central.
If you enjoy your first NASPA Annual Conference as I did, make sure you seek out other ways to be an active member. Concluding the conference, you will receive an email that encourages you to get involved with NASPA, sign up! I hope that this information helps you as you prepare to embark on your new journey into NASPA. See y’all in Austin.