tholsey

Student Affairs Advocate

Why Student Affairs

About two years ago I discovered yet another passion that burns deep in my heart.  Most of my working career has been connected to Students and motivating them to go to college. I can remember my time spent at the Boys and Girls Club in Nacogdoches, Tx, and all of the activities, programs, and assignments that I created.  Most of these activities were directly related to motivating and encouraging teenagers to go to college.

Activities and events such as:

College T-Shirt Day: This encouraged kids to wear a t-shirt of a college that they were interested in going to, or a football or sports team that they supported. I would then ask these students to tell us why they liked that particular school.

College Acceptance Day: This encouraged students to bring their college acceptance letters to the Boys and Girls Club and I would post it in the Teen Center. I had several high school athletes bring their college interest letters to the club and asked me to post those as well, which I did gladly.

Step Team: I put together a group of middle school and high school students who were interested in Stepping. I then taught them the Greek alphabet, all the National Pan-Hellenic Council Organizations, brief history of each Organization, and of course steps.

I even convinced several of my Fraternity brothers to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, so that they could mentor our teenagers and inspire them to go to College.

I am also reminded of my time spent as a Substitute Teacher at various High Schools, and on a few occasions the Teacher did not assign enough work, or the students were finished with the work before class was over. So I took it upon myself to talk to them about College, why I loved College so much, and what they could get out of College. I can still remember their faces……all eyes were focused on me, and they asked so many questions throughout my speech.  I will never forget one student bringing me a picture of her in her cap and gown, and on the back of the picture she put, “To Mr. Holsey, Thanks for encouraging me to go to College, I will not let you down.”  All I could do was smile knowing that I had impacted someone’s life in such a brief time.

Lastly, my three years spent as a School Teacher and Coach was some of the best experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to take several students on College Tours, and to see the look of excitement on their faces was priceless.  Many of these students had never considered going to college, or didn’t think they were smart enough to go to College.  I even had the opportunity to start a Step Team at one of the High Schools I worked at. I will never forget the attendance of the first meeting; I had to move the meeting to the gymnasium because there were over 50 kids who showed up that day.  I will always remember the time we spent traveling to various colleges, learning steps, and socializing with numerous members of Greek Fraternities and Sororities. One of the fraternities even came to the High School on a Saturday to teach our kids steps and routines. Our first step show was one of the biggest events ever; even our Superintendent complimented me on doing an excellent job with the students.

So my desire and passion to see students go to college has been in my heart for a number of years.  I have always appreciated the various activities and events that my school offered. Stephen F. Austin State University literally changed my life, as I was just a young man not sure what I wanted to get out of College, but eager to make the best of it.  The people and relationships that I formed changed my life forever. To be in an environment where there were so many people that could relate to me in some way or another, was instrumental to my maturation process, and I have always wanted every young person that I have met to experience College the way I did.

Student Affairs provides an opportunity to engage students in active learning, help students develop coherent values and ethical standards, uses resources effectively to achieve the mission and goals of the Institution, sets and communicates high expectations for student learning, builds supportive and inclusive communities, and so much more.  A good Student Affairs program can retain students, excite students, engage students, help students adjust to being away from home, and so much more.

Working in Student Affairs has been a desire that I must accomplish. I find myself researching and studying articles and books to gain insight and knowledge about Higher Education and Student Affairs. I have even thought of various programs that I would like to start to contribute to the success of an Institution.  I was just on a college campus last week talking with a faculty member about current trends and issues in the academic advising department at this school, and can remember thinking how grateful I was at her willingness to share this information with me.  The fact of the matter is, I love College, I love everything it stands for, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to be a part of a College Institution.

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