G’day friends! My name is Shane Young. I am what some may call a “new professional.” Like many origin stories for student affairs professionals my path began during my time at my undergraduate institution. I spent four wonderful years at Hiram College where I was the engaged student. I was a Career Peer Assistant, an Orientation Leader, Resident Assistant, Student Programming Board president, Student Government president, and even more. I did not know it at the time, but I was already engaging in the practice of student affairs!
My original plan was to obtain my Political Science degree and then head to law school. I wanted to be a lawyer and eventually a politician. This was my dream throughout high school and up until my senior year at Hiram College. I experienced a sudden disillusionment with my life plan, but there were two individuals in my life who saw an opportunity. Our Director of the Office of Campus Involvement and my Area Hall Director were the two persons who introduced me to the world of student affairs and assisted my realization that all of the work I was currently doing was a part of this umbrella. It may have been my “aha” moment.
I had found my calling. I immediately began applying to graduate programs. My search ultimately led me to Kent State University where my coursework resulted in several additional “aha” moments. It was in my first semester that I realized that I had somehow been using student development theory without knowing what it was. I was introduced to the concepts of privilege and equity; concepts that had escaped my rural upbringing. I was learning the foundations and began building my own style and belief system.
Although I attended Kent State University, my graduate assistantship was at Notre Dame College in Cleveland. I was a commuter (and that was a transition). My first year I served as a Hall Director and supervised my first staff. I learned a lot about the side of Residence Life that a Resident Assistant did not see. I moved into a different role my second year due to some administrative restructuring. I served in a hybrid role between Student Engagement and First Year Experience. I assisted in the selection, training, and supervision of Orientation leaders who were always a lively bunch even at 7:00 AM. I planned events and activities for students on nights and weekends to connect students to the College outside the classroom and positively affect retention.
Currently, I serve as a Hall Director at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I will be entering my third year in this role and none of it has been identical to the last. My first year I served in an area of eleven three-story buildings and my role was much more “area coordinator” than hall director. For 2017-2018 I was moved to oversee a seventeen story tower style residence hall with a 24/7 desk as well as a four story residence hall filled with junior and senior singles. Going into next year I am moving to apartment style residence halls and will be solely responsible for my own area office. My journey thus far has been truly remarkable and I have met a great group of colleagues. I look forward to giving in to my “restorative” nature creating simple and effective changes in my work-life.