It Takes Nerve: Presenting A Different Professional Perspective

By Mike Lampe —  Throughout my experiences in both undergraduate and graduate experiences, I had the opportunity to present on information both controversial and new.

In many cases, I challenged myself by presenting to my peers information in a different perspective, a perspective that may not have been part of the mainstream way of thinking. However, I did not feel as relaxed presenting material to my internship site when discussing utilizing online technological tools to emulate an orientation experience.

Why did I feel the uncomfortable feeling?

After all, I did the right research on comparing how other institutions are approaching online orientations. I also asked my site supervisor to look at my materials I was going to present to which she thought everything looked great. The technology was not an issue due to my experience working on technological devices on a daily basis.

After doing some thinking, I starting thinking of other possible explanations if it was not the lack of content preparation. I started to realize how nerve racking it can be to present to professionals of the same field in another institution. It started to kick in that I will be a student affairs professional next year. It is also nerve racking to know that, after graduate school, professionals will not judge you based on the grades you got in class, but by the quality of work you do when presenting new ideas or doing the job right.

I also started to think about the ramifications of utilizing online tools to provide services to students enrolling at a higher education institution. This reminded me of a conversation I had with a faculty member at my old service learning coordinating position in Sheboygan discussing how technology may be hindering social skill development of college students. Although this was one conversation, I wondered how other people felt about the situation. Even though the intention of my online project was only to supplement students who could not attend any orientation sessions, I could see that some were concerned about the use of technology as a tool.

This brings me to my thoughts on utilizing technology in student services. I believe there will always be some form of professional-student interaction in the student affairs field. This is part of the best practices as described by the various professional associations. Considering technology will always be a part of society, there will be a social balance between practical and excessive usage in student affairs programming.

Although I do believe it may be somewhat excessive to replace the entire classroom experience online, I believe creating online orientation content may help improve retention rates for students who may have not taken the time to attend an on campus orientation.

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