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How I Attacked Imposter Syndrome through Involvement in ACPA

by Ron Alexander (

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"

by Tim Miller (

For the first time in my career, I attended both NASPA and ACPA in the same year.  I know there are many perspectives about the two organizations and who belongs where and who each one serves in our field.  This is a debate and discussion that will probably go on for years into the future.  There is even debate about the value of each organization and I have always wondered about this myself.  What I found after attending the two conferences was that both organizations had an equal but very different meaning and value to me. ...continue reading "Two National Conferences – Two Different Experiences"

by Colette Coleman (

The annual NASPA conference began for me with an opening session from Justice Sonia Sotomayor who shared the story of her journey.  It was compelling to hear her narrative and how she allowed the people along her path to clear the way ahead.  There is a humility and steady strength that comes from accepting direction and assistance.  My own journey at NASPA this year was about being open to new connections and expanding existing professional relationships.  I had the pleasure of spending time with several women in the student affairs profession who have walked the road I am currently traveling and were willing to share their stories.

Statistics show that women are less likely to state their accomplishments boldly. As women we sometimes underestimate the power of our narrative.  Several conference sessions were focused on assisting women in boldly owning their work.  A panel session entitled “Her Place at the Table” featured female Vice Presidents and offered insights on how to be present and heard in the decision room.  There were sessions that taught women how to negotiate salary, how to manage leadership transitions and how to pursue a terminal degree while managing other aspects of life.  I saw and experienced the transformative power of our narrative as I engaged in conversations with women from campuses around the nation.

Colette Coleman is the Assistant Dean for Mount Vernon Campus Residential Engagement and Administration. She oversees the student experience for students on the Mount Vernon Campus.

by Colleen Kelty (

Every year, thousands of new professionals and representatives from hundreds of colleges descend upon a major U.S. city to participate in The Placement Exchange (TPE), the nation’s largest career placement resource in the field of higher education. This year, TPE was held at the Philadelphia Convention Center and was attended by three of CSE’s own: Laura Rouse, Frank Schleimer, and myself.

Long days of interviews, resumes, and thank you notes were certainly worth it as TPE provided us with an incredible opportunity to meet with an enormous variety of institutions and refine our interview skills. The apprehension was high as we prepared for this whirlwind experience. Laura Rouse reflects, “As a bonafide introvert, the thought of attending The Placement Exchange was initially very overwhelming and intimidating for finding my first professional job. Though the nerves were in full force the first day, I can truly say that I have never felt so comfortable speaking and connecting with employers from a variety of institutions. While interviewing can seem like you are just trying to prove yourself over and over again, the employers at TPE are really looking to just get to know you and to mutually see if the school or position is the right fit.” ...continue reading "‘Twas the Night Before TPE"

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