From Lynn Ellison, Doctoral Student HED
Twitter is not just the place to get the latest craziness going through Kanye’s head. It’s also a valuable professional development tool. Best part: it’s free! But, just in case you aren’t convinced, I thought I’d tell you how the housing and student affairs communities on Twitter kept me in grad school after The Great Meltdown of 2010.
Let me set the scene: I was in class and it had been one of those days. Right before class, I learned that I missed a very important reading for that week. I’m actively creating better study habits than the ones I had during the first two degrees, so I became very angry with myself for the mistake. Then, the professor provided directions for our first paper – which was due the following week. As he reviewed the guidelines, I became completely overwhelmed by everything that needed to happen in the next 7 days. Plus, I was going to see ”Metamorphoses” at Zach Theatre and Alabama was playing Penn State in a pivotal game during the same time period. I also jumped ahead to all of the weekends I would be traveling for work this semester and it just seemed like too much.
It was at this point that I thought, “Forget this. I don’t need a doctorate” and sent out a tweet that said: “I’m about 5 seconds from dropping out. Just learned more about an assignment due next week and I don’t know when I’m going to do it. #sadoc” (#sadoc is the Twitter search term for the Student Affairs doctoral student community and serves as a way to aggregate tweets around a specific topic). This was a desperate cry for help as well as a statement of serious intent.
What resulted was a tremendous outpouring of support from all parts of the country, most in the general theme of “hang in there! You can do it! What can we do to help?” Within an hour I had been talked out of making a rash decision and some really helpful things developed. First, I created a simple weekly reading plan that I would fill out each Thursday (it’s amazing how much this simple chart has helped). The worksheet would help me get all of my reading and assignments done and still have some semblance of a life (Alabama football, live theatre, “Hoarders”). Second, the idea for a monthly #sadoc Twitter chat developed in that conversation.
If you are a student affairs practitioner currently in a doctorate program, please join us on Monday, October 11th at 8:00pm CDT for our first #sadoc twitter chat. New to twitter chats? Here’s a good place to get some basic information. During this first chat, we’ll talk about strategies for balance as well as themes for future chats. The awesome Ann Marie Klotz (@annmarieklotz) from DePaul University and I will facilitate and we hope that this will serve as an ongoing source of support for those of us trying to have it all. Maybe Twitter can save you, too.