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Flexibility, not Bodybuilding: First Impressions of a ‘Big State’ Experience

August 19, 2010

I’ve roadtripped across the country with no A/C, visited my family, moved into my home for the next year, been trained on everything from bedbugs and mold to fire panels and emergencey protocol matrices, moved in a staff of 4 men and helped to prepare them and my building of nearly 300 for the arrival of thousands of students, families, and staff members for move-in; worn out, overwhelmed, and oddly engrained with a feeling of hesistant confidence. 

More importantly, I’m beginning to look around an office that was musty and foreign, and making it my own.  I’m looking at staff members whose names I initially struggled with, and calling them friends.  I’m training students who months ago and only a few hundred miles away, I would have called peers, and entrusted with their supervision and guidance. 

This comfortability with being flexible and adaptive to new situations is something that I’m learning more and more is important within my role as a professional.  Changes to old programs, developments of new programs, and quick decisions made to bring more efficiency, more development, more growth.  Bigger, faster, stronger. 

It seems like the more I learn about the structure of big state schools and how they function both day to day and in their overall development is less about huge undertakings, and more about refinement and intentional allocation of resources.  Flexibility, not bodybuilding. 

I’m looking forward (once again) to developing this understanding as my coursework and assistantship become more ‘predictable’ and (hopefully) balanced in the coming weeks, but for now, I’ll leave the impression to sink in, and some questions to part with:

Have you worked/attended both a private and state instiution?  What are the biggest differences you experienced?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jillian Zalewski permalink
    September 21, 2010 2:15 pm

    So reading this makes me feel better about my experiences at a large state school (even though Texas A&M is larger). I agree with this quote alot

    “It seems like the more I learn about the structure of big state schools and how they function both day to day and in their overall development is less about huge undertakings, and more about refinement and intentional allocation of resources. Flexibility, not bodybuilding. ”

    I find that the allocation of resources is highly imporant as well as developing constantly. I am pushed to take advantage of professional development here more than I ever was in undergrad and part of that is just because their are so many more opportunities to learn new things from different perspectives.

    I am so happy to have taken this opportunity to try out a large land grant University because it has opened up my eyes to a new college experience. Though I am happy that my cohort gives class the “small school” feel.

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  1. Flexibility, not Bodybuilding: Impressions of a ‘Big State’ Experience « Student Affairs: Farm League

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