This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to attend the Ontario Association of College and University Housing Officers Residence Life Conference at the University of Guelph as part of the York University delegation.
This is my second year as a don in residence, but my fourth year living on campus, which has led me to become passionate in the community, and with a future career in student affairs, the possibility of working in ResLife is always in the back of my mind.
So when this opportunity was presented to me, I jumped at the chance to learn more about this field, improve my own knowledge and experiences as a don and network.
Networking. That word that seems to be thrown around anytime somebody mentions job hunting. The importance of networking in your field, of getting to know the movers and shakers, and getting your name and personal brand out there was emphasized throughout the conference.
One thing that really struck me at the conference with hundreds of fellow ResLife student staff and professional was how the values of diversity, inclusivity and passionate service were carried out institution to institution.
During the conference, we had a keynote address from Paul Gordon Brown, a leader in researching the connecting between higher education and technology, something I am very interested in learning more about, and am currently researching in my Sociology of IT course.
I also attended presentations on addressing disability and accessibility on campus, normalizing anti-oppression and many other topics that were already close to my heart, but also provided the information in unique and new ways.
Overall, after all the cheers, songs and York University winning second place in the spirit cup, I’ll be taking away a rejuvenated passion and love for ResLife, an assurance that the post-secondary sector is right for me, knowledge, ideas and way to make my own experience and work in ResLife even better.
Conferences are awesome opportunities to gain more knowledge about issues you’re passionate about, learn about new sub-fields within a career or academic discipline and if you end up being a presenter, get your name and brand out there.