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Exploring a Career in Student Affairs

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A panel was held to discuss jobs in career services. Photo by Emily Bresnahan

A panel was held to discuss jobs in career services. Photo by Emily Bresnahan

A panel was held to discuss jobs in career services. Photo by Emily Bresnahan

Emily Bresnahan, Feature Writer

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Can you imagine never leaving college? In a way, a career in student affairs is exactly that concept.

On October 30th, students were able to hear from professionals from Pace University and other schools at a panel discussing careers in student affairs.

Most of the speakers started their journey in college, by becoming resident assistants or orientation leaders and found that helping students and working at a college was their true calling. You never know where your path in college may lead, and these speakers were true examples of that, since many of them started in different majors before finding that student affairs was the place for them.

Abigail Smith, a Resident Director in Alumni Hall, started the presentation off by explaining her personal reason for wanting to work in student affairs.

“Most of my learning and development happened in college,” she stated. “I took that and realized that I wanted to have that impact on college students.”

Many of the speakers during the panel noted that college is not just about academics, but also learning about who you are a person, and those working in student affairs help to “develop students outside of the classroom.”

“Student affairs can seem like an abstract idea to many college students and their parents,” noted JoAnna Verlezza, a Resident Director in North Hall. “Many professionals bounce around in student affairs, and often they never intended to end up there anyway, it can be a field that you simply fall into.”

“Student affairs can be hard to sell to your parents,” Verlezza said. “But there will always be colleges and universities that need professionals in this field.”

Joe Caffarelli, the Director of Residential Life at William Patterson University, spoke about his journey into a career in student affairs. Throughout college, his plan was to become a counselor and he never had a strenuous plan to end up where he is now. Even while pursuing his counseling degree, his resident assistant and residence hall director pushed him towards student affairs and residential life. To this day, he is grateful for his journey in residential life.

“I love what I do, I love working with students,” Caffarelli said. “There are very few days that I wake up and don’t want to go to work.”

The next speaker, Louis Cameron, a Student Life and Assessment Specialist at Mercy College spoke of how becoming an Orientation Leader changed his life. Even though being a resident assistant was not the correct position for him, Cameron wanted to find a way to help students. Working in residential life gives you all kinds of experiences.

The most important thing to him is working with students and asking himself everyday.

“How can I help [the students] get to a better point mentally, physically and emotionally?”

 

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