Keegan Nichols, Coordinator for Prof. Dev. & Standards
June 27, 2018
NASPA IV-W Family? Tell Me More!
Region IV-W prides themselves on being family. I think, as a new member to the region, it is challenging to wrap your head around how people in the region could be family, isn’t this just about being better at work? As you become more engaged in the region, you realize that what people mean you are part of a tight network of professionals who care about you professionally and personally.
When I have a question about work, I call my colleagues, friends, and family in the region. I had a question about how to handle a situation concerning the organization of my division. I immediately called Dr. Eric Grospitch and Dr. Jerrid Freeman who gave me advice and direction. When I needed some resources for a new orientation program we were building; I called Dr. Brett Bruner and Ms. Alyssa Wendel. When a graduating senior wanted to go into Student Affairs, I called several of my colleagues and now that student has an opportunity to attend graduate school. I can name several instances where I have called people in the region to talk through situations, and they have called me. It is truly been a network of people you can count on to give you unbiased feedback in a non-judgmental zone. These are your people, the people who understand, who get it.
If you are struggling with how to make friends, take a note from me. Some of my best friends are because we met at a NASPA conference. I could name so many in this post (Dr. Freeman, Dr. Grospitch, Dr. Petr, Ms. Meyer, Dr. Williams, Mr. Monroe, and the list goes on), but how I simply made friends was I sat by Dr. Cassie Gerhardt and said, “Want to be my NASPA bestie?” and then to Dr. Shannon Breske, “I don’t know a lot of people, want to be my friend”? NASPA is the way to make connections; you just have to put yourself out there and go all kindergarten at it—just ask someone to be your friend.
On the personal side, I had the most significant event of my life happen in December. I lost the most incredible partner, friend, husband, and soulmate-- Jimmy Nichols. My Region IV-W family who called (too many to call out by name), texted, sent cards, sent money to his endowed scholarship, and attended his funeral. My IV-West family continues to be those who still call, send flowers, send cards, and send texts over six months later. My Region IV-West colleagues, friends, and family show us love, support, and guidance when we need it most. Thank you for your support during the most challenging time of my entire life.
The people in the region understand we are in this together and our successes are each other successes. I am forever grateful for the friendships I have developed over the years and know that I am incredibly blessed to be part of the Region IV-W family. We are there to support each other both personally and professionally. Region IV-W family understands we cannot be our best selves without each other. So, next time you hear the Region IV-W is family, believe it. Know that in time, the people in the region will become your biggest cheerleaders, biggest fans, and biggest advocates. When you are new it is difficult to understand how this works together, but I challenge you to put yourself out there, volunteer, call your colleagues, and know that you are part of a big family. It’s worth the risk.
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