Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Would You Do if you Weren't Afraid?

Working in higher education, I often have the opportunity to ask high school and new college students "what do you want to be when you grow up"? Sometimes it makes me think about when I was growing up and what my ultimate goal was going to be. I know for certain higher education administration wasn't one of those goals, and to be honest, it wasn't even a glimpse in my mind when I started college.

I started Kent State University as a business student with a hope to someday take over the world with my management tactics (or something businesslike); until I got my first on campus job at the Rec Center as an intramural referee. For the next couple years and I learned how to referee a good volleyball game, follow a good checklist, and make sure people were safe when at the rec center. My goals of business then slowly diminished and I found something I loved; something that I had a passion for- campus recreation.

My career in campus recreation and higher education has taken me down so many different paths that I didn't see coming. I've learned so much about campus rec, advising, admissions, student life, career services and student development working in different areas of the college. I've worked at universities that are in rural areas and the communities are surrounded by it; I've worked in a an urban setting where it's mostly commuter and traffic makes your morning commute interesting; I've also worked at the two year college where recruitment and retention mean all the different to the services we provide.

I just got finished reading the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (the CEO of Facebook), and it  related women moving up the ladder more like a jungle gym then a ladder. So many times we think we have to keep moving in one direction, but on a jungle gym there are many ways to move up and become successful. We focus on one goal; one priority and think we have to keep moving in that direction or we will loose everything we've worked for. Or is it because we're scared.

What if we stopped asking "what if" and started asking ourselves "what next"? What is my next step? What can I learn next? Where do I go from here? We tend to focus on staying in one place because that's what we know and where we are comfortable.

I remember when I had Riley and Emerson feeling guilty even thinking "what's next". Why did I have to keep going and going when I was starting a family? That question is asks by a lot of mothers and it holds women back because of the fear they have to choose between our family and our success. We don't have to choose. I can have a successful career, and be the best mom I can be. We make sacrifices and we learn how to prioritize better than we ever have, but we make it work.

This year brings me new opportunities and new challenges. I will continue to learn and grow for ALL of my experience and continue to strive for excellence in student development and higher education. What would I do if I wasn't scared? I would accept a new position in Ohio and hit the road with Josh, myself and our two beautiful girls. Buckeye nation here we come!