In less than a week, we'll be at SEAHO 2013 to connect with new and old colleagues alike.
While you will learn a great deal, meet new people, and stay on top of trends, being a new grad amongst hundreds of delegates can be a little bit intimidating.
SEAHO 2008 was my first conference. I remember the uncertainty. What is SEAHO? Where can I find other graduate students? What's Placement? Where do I eat dinner?
2008 was quite the year. Sarah Palin emerged as a Vice Presidential candidate. Heath Ledger died after a poetic performance in The Dark Knight. Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in the Summer Olympics. The United States entered its sixth year of war in Iraq. Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American President of the US.
It seems like just yesterday that I was watching The Dark Knight and the election coverage...and starting my connection with SEAHO.
If I had to give the 2008 Coretta some advice about her first SEAHO, I'd tell her:
-Attend Graduate Issues and Involvement Committee events. While it seems elementary, these events are created for you to meet other graduate students who are experiencing similar successes and challenges.
-Spend time with graduate students who you don't know. I met one of my closest friends at SEAHO 2008. A few months after SEAHO 2008, we ended up as Residence Coordinators at Florida State University. Small world? Yes, indeed!
-Invest in your Pro/Am connection. Pro/Am is SEAHO's mentor/mentee program. My mentors have been a very reliable resource for me over the years. You will get out of the Pro/Am program what you put into it.
-Volunteer. There are a myriad of ways to give back to SEAHO. Taking up meal tickets, providing directions at socials, and assisting with registrations are just a few. You never know who you'll meet in the hour or two it'll take to serve such a powerful organization.
-Go to a committee meeting. It's takes a lot of work to make SEAHO work. You can be a part of the behind the scenes activity to make SEAHO even more transformative for the graduate students to follow.
-Spend time with the Associates. They're not scary people...and one day you'll be the person making decisions about laundry vendors, furniture selections, or which company will provide right to show Taken 2 in the halls.
-Have fun! There will be plenty of time to explore the city. The area surrounding the SEAHO 2013 conference hotel boasts the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, Coca Cola World, and Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles (I may or may not have fallen in love with chicken and waffles here). Maximize the time you have out on the town!
To bring this blog 360, whether this is your first or seventh SEAHO, it's up to you to lay a foundation of activity and commitment so you can look back in 5 years and think back to how much you enjoyed SEAHO 360!
Since July 2012, Coretta Roseboro Walker has been the Assistant Director for Residence Life at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Walker received her Master of Education from NC State University in 2008 and Bachelors of Science in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill in 2006. From 2008 to 2011, Walker served as a Residence Coordinator at The Florida State University. From 2011 to 2012, Walker was one of two Area Directors at Coastal Carolina University. Walker's SEAHO involvement includes five years of involvement with GIIC, five consecutive years of presentations, and numerous SEAHO Report submissions.