, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last week I attended the Ohio College Personnel Association (OCPA) Annual Conference held in Columbus Ohio. This is the second annual conference I have attended, but this one was very different. This time I was not solely attending the event, but had spent months planning it with professionals from all levels. I was predominantly planning and implementing the Robert A. Dubick Case Study Competition with my co-member at large. This event is an annual tradition for the conference in which teams of two graduate students compete against one another in responding to a predetermined case study.

This year I had less time to attend sessions, but even so, I felt that this conference yielded more benefit for me. I was more intentional with who I networked with, attended a pre-conference institute, and engaged more with the conference’s multiple avenues for professional development. For the purpose of reflection, I wanted to write a post about some of the sessions that I went to and what resonated with me. Maybe in my reflections you will find something of value?

Check back next Monday for Part 2!

Career Management Institute

This pre-conference is designed for graduate students and new professionals to assist them in charting their journey through student affairs. This year we had three wonderful speakers: Davin Munn, Career Counselor at Robert Morris University; Dr. Jamie S. Patton, Assistant Dean of Students at Ohio University; Dr. Mark Kretovics, Interim Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services at Kent State University

David Munn spoke about creating a “battle plan” for branding ourselves and wanted to highlight the importance of discovering our strengths and weakening our weaknesses. As someone who operates a website, branding is an important part of my current job search. What resonated with me was the ten minutes of conversation that we had prior to the start of his presentation. He asked a lot of questions about me and related many of his presentation points to what I am currently doing in my graduate assistantship.

Dr. Jamie S. Patton started off the presentation in a way that flabbergasted me. He asked us our name, but he also asked us where our names came from. I will always remember this session because it started off by challenging me to think about something I had never thought about before.  Dr. Patton led the group through some self-reflection activities because in order to go forward, you might want to know where you are going first. It was a good exercise to identify what experiences and skills I currently have and which ones I need to develop or gain to get where I want to be.

Dr. Mark Kretovics is currently my instructor in a class that I was unable to attend due to OCPA duties on Thursday, so it was quite nice to hear his wise words despite my absence. Dr. Kretovics spoke to us about two ways of looking at our career paths: the planned and the unplanned route. If a plan was needed, Dr. Kretovics recommended that the job seeker know what is important to them. Does the location of the institution matter? Size? Mission? For those less interested in plans, he spoke about his own career trajectory and although the job seeker may have a destination in mind, the journey there does not need to be direct. Maybe you are like Dr. Kretovics and move to Hawaii “Because why not?” or maybe you want to know where you are going and know exactly how to get there.

See you next week for Part 2: The Annual Conference.