I’m classically conditioned to love my job in Student Affairs! :)

Many of you have heard me relate my job in Student Affairs to Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning…and last week’s positive reinforcements (treats: different from meat powder and yet have a similar affect on me) along with the many instances over the past nine years illustrate this conditioning affect that Student Affairs work has on me. This week, I received at my office door one of the nicest and most genuine Thank You cards from a recent UCSD alum. I had met with this student last fall prior to some of their most important medical school interviews at some prestigious schools around the country. We did a mock interview and I shared some tips on how to improve on their interview skills. This isn’t an unusual thing for me to do, but for this student…something so ordinary turned into something Extraordinary! In this note, the student shared how much the mock interview helped get acceptance into med schools like Washington U and Yale, and how much I had an impact on their 4 years at UCSD…I’m so honored to have been a part of this student’s college experience! This wonderful Thank You note is that positive reinforcement or ‘treat’ that gets me coming into work everyday to a job that I absolutely love! I never know what day I’m going to get a note from a student, a drop-in visit to my office, or a moment in the classroom when I see a students eyes light up in their ‘aha!’ moment…it’s random, but frequent enough to keep me coming back for more! My job continues to expand its boundaries and my sphere of influence…this summer I started teaching high school students through summer quarterly classes and workshops. Last week I saw a group of students in a public speaking class really demonstrate how much they have grown through debates! I also had the opportunity to present on the art of small talk: networking and professionalism with faculty and VIPs. What a fun workshop it was and the room was packed! We had to turn students away that session (so I did an encore run!) After both workshops, almost every student came up to me and introduced themselves, tell me they enjoyed the way I present, asked more questions, asked for my business card…they just kept thanking me for teaching them some of these skills that they can start using now…it was positive reinforcement heaven for me! When things get rough and I have back-to-back sessions all day and I can’t see the color of my desk…I have this box next to my computer filled with many ‘treats’ (positive reinforcements) from the most recent years, but for some reason I have yet to tap into that box because the Student Affairs profession fairy doesn’t wait very long to send another ‘treat’ my way…especially on the days I need it the most! Which is why I come back everyday excited about the possibility of getting another ‘treat’ and continuing to be classically conditioned to love my job in Student Affairs! 🙂


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