“Do not follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail.”
– Ghana Proverb
As a student affairs professional and as an educator, I believe that I have the potential to have a powerful impact on the students I encounter and through these encounters I intend to leave a mark in their lives by doing the following:
I aim to plant the seed for self-authorship through validation in students’ lives by creating transformational learning environments (Rendón, 1994). Through validation it is my hope that these students will have the confidence and self-worth to become involved and add to their student development through extracurricular activities (Rendon, 1994; Astin, 1985). A majority of this development will occur through diverse engagement in the students’ environment (Astin, 1984; Chickering and Reisser, 1993). The established learning environment that the student is in must present a balance to challenge them just enough, with enough resources (Sanford, 1966). I hope that students who have come into their college experience with little knowledge about his/her own values, identity and relationships, will transform into someone who can reevaluate his/her values and learn to embrace multiple perspectives (Baxter Magolda, 2002).
I strive for awareness of social and cultural differences on college campuses as diversity profoundly contributes to one’s education (Smith and Schonfeld, 2000). The capacity to understand multiculturalism encompasses awareness, knowledge and skills that I must keep up with to be on target with the diverse student population I work with (Sue, Arredondo and McDavis, 1992). In addition, it is also vital for a student to fully understand his/her own ethnic identity and to have a positive self-image (Phinney and Chauteco, 1995).
Lifelong learning will always accompany me in the student affairs arena as it is a must for anyone working with a population that is constantly changing. We must be on our toes with up-to-date information on who are students are, how we can connect to them and how we can further the creation of their individual journeys.