On the Job with Hali Normandeau

What are your plans after graduation?

The million-dollar question! Before, this question would have caused infinite stress and panic, but now I see it less as a need for a concrete plan and more an idea of what I’d like to accomplish. I hope to live in a new city in a position that challenges me but provides opportunities for growth and connections. I want to work with students who are navigating the college experience and may be struggling with the process. I want to form connections that I can trust and rely on and fully immerse myself in this field. And most importantly, I want to never stop learning because there is never one answer to a question or one way to complete a task.Hali Normandeau

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the profession?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that you will never have the same day twice! You may have the same conflict arise, or the same questions being asked, but every situation will be different. It is so vital in this profession to be flexible because situations pop up without any warning. How you han­dle those moments is the true measure of the skills you’ve gained. Every experience will allow you to grow and constantly push you to work harder. While this may seem like a daunting notion, each situation being so different provides infinite opportunities for new lessons to be learned.

Describe a memorable day on the job.

A memorable day I’ve had was the day I led my first staff meeting. I supervise a staff of 16 amazing students who con­stantly work hard to create an inclusive and supportive space on this campus. I was nervous going into this role because many of the students had been a part of this volunteer staff long before I became the graduate assistant. I knew that this could create a challenging environment and knew the importance of that first meeting. Utilizing resources to create a solid agenda and run­ning my plans by others in my field was a great way to shake some of my nerves. I also was able to take skills from my expe­rience supervising a resident advisor staff this summer to build confidence in my abilities. I was able to feel prepared and also clearly share insight about who I was personally and profession­ally with my students, which created a great rapport. This kicked off the year on a real positive note!

What advice would you have for undergraduates considering a degree in student affairs/higher education leadership?

My advice would be to always remember self-care. People in this field are helpers, and it can be our most positive trait, but can also be our most stress-inducing! Always remember that you are at your best ability to help others when you have also helped yourself. If you stretch yourself too thin or push yourself too far, you are doing a disservice to yourself and also the students and peers you are working with. Find what centers you, or clears your mind, and make sure to integrate that into your day!

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