Friday, January 9, 2009

Why I Became a Professor...From a Former Student Affairs Practioner's Perspective

Why did I become a professor? Well, it has been a long (from a millennial's point of view) journey that just became longer (with the tenure track). 

  • May 2003 - Graduated with a Master of Arts Degree. Served as a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Affairs.
  • May 2003 -  Started my first full-time job as a Coordinator of Multicultural and International Student Services.
  • May 2004 - Gained admission to a higher education doctoral program (cohort-based).
  • August 2006 - Started serving as a full-time adjunct teaching six undergraduate-based classes at a community college and four-year institution in Texas. Began working on my dissertation.
  • January 2007 - Gained a fellowship in my doctoral program, taught as an adjunct for two community colleges, and continued working on my dissertation.
  • July 2007 - Defended the dissertation.
  • September 2007 - Started the tenure track and a four:four teaching load.
  • December 2007 -  Graduated with my doctorate degree.
  • January 2009 - Projects galore! Can I really survive on eight committees?
I made the switch, because I have some wonderful mentors in student affairs and academia that always push me to my limit. Since I was an undergraduate, I have wanted to become a chief university officer. This dream was derailed when some of my close mentors told me that I could not achieve my dream unless I became a professor. 

So, academia became my new dream and mindset. Instead of fund raising for student affairs programs and planning events, I have to search for grants, publish scholarly papers, present at conferences, serve on committees, and (of course) teach wonderful undergraduates. I love my job. I would not change what I have been blessed to do for ANYTHING.I love it when the undergraduates experience that "a ha" moment when they truly get a concept. I adore the exhilaration that I feel when I receive letter of acceptance for a faculty institute or grant. Most of all, I enjoy the feeling of humility when I receive a rejection letter for a journal or a "revise and resubmit" offer from another journal. This job is challenging, but I would not trade it for the world.

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