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2022 NASPA Conference- One for the books

Supporting the Profession Graduate New Professional
April 20, 2022 Carmen McIver Dallas College - El Centro Campus

My Journey to NASPA

When I got the email about winning the Jim Rhatigan Fellowship Award, I truly could not believe it. I thought it was an honest mistake, however, I was excited to embark on a journey that would fuel my passion for students and student affairs professionals.

The very first day I arrived, I was overwhelmed. I always feel the need to be in control over my day, my emotions, situations, and it’s hard to let it go and let it flow. I felt so out of control. I cried. I called my mom, my best friend and cried. BUT! It was still a happy cry. I was determined to tackle day two with intention and inspiration. That was the beginning of a life-changing career moment.


Carmen is taking a picture in the mirror, wearing a yellow sweater with flower pants with two fingers up. She is smiling and ready for her second day of the NASPA Conference Day.

 Just What I Needed


 I left that session feeling empowered to not only take back my power as a professional, but to walk in how powerful it is to be in this position. To be a student affairs professional means to wear many hats while also making a big impact in the lives of college students. To do this, I must learn to take care of myself first so that I can pour into others.

 Overall, this conference really rejuvenated me and reminded me why I fell in love with higher education in the first place. I love helping students, but I really love working with other higher education professionals who aspire to do the same. I loved that I had other Dallas College professionals there who supported me. Strangers who comforted me. And NASPA who inspired me to continue to pursue the beauty of college student development.

“Your experiences shape you, but your failures inspire you”. This was said by Dr. Lisa Copprue, the president of Boulder Community College in Colorado. This was the first session I attended and the first quote that stuck with me for the rest of the conference. I knew that the NASPA Conference experience is just what I needed to shape me into the student affairs professional I knew I could be.

 I made sure that I was intentional with every session I attended. I was attentive, engaged, and optimistic about the topics that were discussed. One of the many sessions I enjoyed was “Burned Out or Burned Through” that discussed how higher education professionals can learn to take better care of themselves when the weight of the job tends to mentally pull them down. The title immediately stood out to me because I knew that I was experiencing this feeling of being “burned out”, but I didn’t know how to pull myself out of it.