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How I Attacked Imposter Syndrome through Involvement in ACPA

by Ron Alexander (ronalexander@gwu.edu)

When I entered student affairs as a professional, I learned about the term “Imposter Syndrome” from a colleague and supervisor in my first professional Residence Director role. Wikipedia defines impostor syndrome as "a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a 'fraud'." A constant theme that I have experienced in my time as a professional was not feeling like I belonged or that I deserved any type of award for the work that I did. In meetings (and I am still guilty of this), I wouldn't speak up, offer feedback, or engage in dialogue just because I had this internal discourse about  “who am I” or “I am at the bottom of the totem pole.” American College Personnel Association (ACPA) was the involvement and change agent I needed to find my worth in student affairs.

I came to know about ACPA in 2013 in a conversation with a current graduate student at Vanderbilt (who is now my colleague and friend Charlotte McLoud), and she told me about this organization that she was involved in and how it had shaped her experience in student affairs thus far, especially within the social justice realm. Charlotte encouraged me to look into the work that ACPA was currently doing in respects to professionals of color, social justice and inclusion, and racial injustice. Fast forward to 2015, a great opportunity arose! ...continue reading "Imposter Syndrome and the Importance of Professional Associations"

Seven CSE staff members offer reflections on their experiences at the Virginia Student Services Conference, held in Wintergreen, VA on November 15-17, 2017.

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by Tim Miller (millertm@gwu.edu)

The first time I went to Wintergreen for the Virginia Student Services Conference (VSSC) was in the fall of 1998.  I was a full time staff member in the student union at James Madison University as well as a part-time graduate student and I was given the opportunity to go to the conference as part of my Master’s Program.  I attended in ’98 and ’99 and really connected with the feel of the conference and being “On the Mountain” with colleagues from across VA.  I remember the fun of staying in that environment and everything I was able to learn from people who had been in the field for a very long time.

Several years ago, I decided to bring a team from GW - or “the invaders from the North” as I called us.  I was immediately reminded why I loved VSSC once I got off the main roads and was driving on Route 29 through central Virginia and then once we started up the mountain I knew it was a good idea to return to VSSC.  We have brought a good mix of people every year since (aside from one year when we missed the conference).

VSSC gives people a chance to take a break, present to incredibly receptive and supportive colleagues, network with individuals from the area, and find ways to grow outside of our DC bubble.  I hope we will continue to be a part of VSSC for years to come and more GW community members can find their home there as well.

...continue reading "VSSC: New Ideas, Skills, and Relationships"

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