posted on May 17, 2019 01:01
Karen Archambault, NACADA President
I am writing this to you on the day of our first of three commencement celebrations. I mention this because this is, for many of us, the most wonderful time of the year. It is the time when we get to see our students’ success on display; we see all the work we’ve done reach fruition. We see awards ceremonies, program celebrations, culminating presentations, and so on. In the past few weeks, my institution has hosted multiple programs all focused on our students’ completion and with every one, I smile, I take pride in all that our students have accomplished, and I am thankful for all the ways that my team has been privileged to participate in the process of bringing each and every student from their first interest in our institution to their graduation day.
As we move through this process—though most graduations for this year will be done by the time you read this—I encourage you to take some time to reflect. Reflect on the achievements of the students you’ll see walk across the stage and on the exceptional work you did to help them get there. Some of them will say thank you with cards and gifts—the hashtag #soulmoney that Kathleen Shea Smith (University of Oklahoma Norman) mentioned in her keynote speech at annual conference a few years ago comes to mind. Others will thank you by increasing your workload—sending you their friends and siblings, the students desperately in need of “someone like you” to support them. Another group will forget that you helped them; they’ll think of you and your support, but they’ll get caught up in the joy of graduation and their victory in being “done” and just hope that you know that you mattered.
I encourage you to revel in the success; remember all these students who know that you’ve supported them, and remember, too, the ones who think they did it on their own because they never see the way you and your colleagues fight for them behind the scenes. They’ll never see the meetings where you put yourself on the line for a change, or the way you argued for a change in curriculum or policy because it would support your incoming transfer students or your students coming from impoverished backgrounds. They will never know how they were in your minds—maybe not by name, but by their shared stories—and how you worked to help smooth their path.
In this most celebratory of times for our graduates, I encourage you to also celebrate for yourself. Not because you “survived” another year, but because you, as an advisor, an advising administrator, an advising activist, fought for the best for your students. This association exists and grows not because of students but for their benefit; we learn, we connect, we advocate because we know that our students’ success is dependent upon us.
Karen Archambault, President, 2018-2019
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Success
Rowan College at Burlington County
Cite this article using APA style as: Archambault, K. (2019, June). From the president: Take time to reflect. Academic Advising Today, 42(2). Retrieved from [insert url here]