My love affair with Poutine: ACPA 2016

My love affair with Poutine: ACPA 2016

12825118_10208477085342717_1592128045_n Hi Everyone!

My Name is Ali and I’m so excited to be blogging for Canisius Graduate Admissions. My grad. program has provided me with some really cool opportunities this year, and so far, my favorite has been the ACPA Conference in Montreal, Quebec.

The American College Personnel Association is an awesome organization that puts on a national conference yearly to provide professional development opportunities to Student Affairs enthusiasts all over the nation! At this conference, there are hundreds of sessions put on by professionals in the field that cover endless topics such as greek life, leadership, retention, assessment, student activities, etc. etc. etc. Basically every single topic you could think of involved in the realm of student affairs is covered. I was lucky enough to go to this conference, attend some really good sessions, meet some really good people, eat some really good poutine, and learn a lot about the field I am aspiring to be a professional in.

My favorite session was one about Leadership. It really resonated with me because it spoke about the difference between being a role model and being a hero. In student affairs, we often find ourselves in situations where we must help students–whether it is helping them academically or personally, it’s in our job description to provide guidance to them. Sometimes, it’s easy enough to solve their problems for them–make one phone call and things are fixed. In those cases, we are heroes. But when we provide students with the resources to help them solve their own problems, tell them stories of our own failures, and show them that we’ve been through it too, we are role models. We give them a reason to want to persevere on their own, and in that way, we are leading them towards success of their own accord. I absolutely loved that.


One of my favorite books is called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It talks all about how to be good leaders, we must be vulnerable. This concept of vulnerability is a thread that has been weaved into every aspect of my student affairs journey thus far. A few years back, I attended a LeaderShape conference in Boston, where I learned that we must embrace our weaknesses and our insecurities in order to be trustworthy leaders. When I read Brown’s work, I learned that facing our greatest fears of failure only makes us stronger, and provides us with the means to succeed even more the next time around once we have learned from our mistakes. I just love the idea of that. As an aspiring professional, I mess up a lot. There are days when I could kick myself for the way I handled things with a student, wishing I had done things differently. But I learn a little bit each time, and by accepting my weaknesses, I show that I’m a human too–I think students relate really well to that.

So the conference itself was beautiful. It really confirmed for me that I’m in the right field. The atmosphere was SO inclusive, and I’m so grateful that student affairs is a network of people that values acceptance so much. My fellow cohort members and I are very lucky that the cost of attending the conference is included in my tuition–Canisius’s CSPA program is the only one in the nation that takes all of their cohort members to ACPA. We all felt super cool wearing our matching shirts on the 8 hour bus ride.





Aside from professional development, I got to explore Montreal and see all of it’s beauty. Honestly though, who knew fries with gravy and cheese could be so dang delicious? I was lucky enough to indulge in poutine more than once. I had a DELICIOUS brunch of pancakes and fried chicken (I know, it was as gross/ amazing as it sounds). The craft beer in Montreal was delicious, as was the sushi–can you tell I like food? Food was definitely the highlight of my Montreal experience. Well, food, and eating food with some of my favorite people. I loved getting to spend so much time with the people in my classes.




I also saw the inside of the Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal. It was like a dream. Just gorgeous and indescribable. An experience that everyone should have if they visit the city. There are horse drawn carriages stationed outside of the church–we had the opportunity to feed carrots to Johnny! The streets were so clean and the people were so friendly, and I truly realized how much culture I’ve yet to experience in the world.




1618c153-0abc-44c8-8c7b-312338c72cc1In a nutshell–this trip ROCKED! I’m severely missing my fluffy cloud hotel bed right now.

Until next time,

Au revoir!baeef196-6642-496a-a2a0-c56144467195



ACPA Convention 2015- all things sunshine and happiness

ACPA Convention 2015- all things sunshine and happiness

So as I can tell from my fellow bloggers, we have all had enough of this rough (and that is putting it lightly) Buffalo winter. Thankfully, the snow is almost all melted away and I can finally remember what grass looks like.

As the season turns to spring, I am getting closer to no longer being a Canisius graduate student and closer to being a higher education professional. And I must admit, I couldn’t be any more excited and prepared for what lies ahead. The College Student Personnel Administration program, directed by the outstanding Dr. Sandra Estanek, has laid the groundwork and provided me with confidence that I am prepared to enter a workforce that I sincerely have a passion for.

One of the best and most rewarding parts of being a CSPA student is that every year we are given the incredible opportunity to travel to a professional development conference as a cohort. Typically the conference we attend is ACPA (American College Personnel Association) which was held last year in Indianapolis, Indiana and this year- to my utmost delight- was in sunshiney Tampa, Florida. So I packed up my sandals, sunglasses, and summer professional wear (which has sadly been in a dark, sad place in my closet since October) and eagerly jumped on that plane. I consider myself to be a worshiper of the sun so Tampa had my name written all over it.

So now that you all know about my desperate need to go to Tampa for sunshine, it also is a great way to get to know people within your cohort on a personal level. These people who you share a class with on a weekly basis are going to turn into your colleagues at some point, even if they are working at a school in California and you are still in New York. One of the greatest pieces of advice I have gained this semester in my capstone class is to value the connection you make with your cohort members because they are ultimately going to be the people you turn to as a new professional with questions that you may not want to broach with your new supervisor.

The conference itself serves a general purpose to provide student affairs professionals and graduate students with a weekend jam packed with professional development sessions. A few days before the conference, there is also Career Central where those who are job searching can have interviews with one (or often times many) schools in all different functional areas and different parts of the country all in one place. As a first year student, you will have an assignment where you have to attend sessions based on the classes you are taking and write a paper about those sessions. But as a second year student, you have more flexibility in the sessions you attend because you may be spending your entire conference interviewing for jobs or you may be attending sessions outside your comfort zone to gain new insight or you may tailor your session schedule for areas you are specifically interested in.

Along with a lot of learning, networking, and fun, I also got a really nice tan 🙂


Papers! Papers! and More Papers!!

Papers! Papers! and More Papers!!

Hello All!!!  My name is Dan and I am a first year graduate student in the College Student Personnel Administration program here at Canisius College. I am a Resident Assistant on campus and I am also a supervisor of the study center and a academic mentor for the Griff Center.  Why the headline, Papers, Papers, and more Papers? Why thats quite simple: As a student in this grad program there are many papers attached to this program that you have to write and it is never ending. However, with these papers there are learning outcomes attached to this as well. Life in this program has its intrinsic rewards. What’s special about this program is you get the hands on experience and apply theories that you learn in class and actually apply them to your everyday settings. I am learning lots and writing lots at the same time but in the end you are benefiting other students to help them be successful in their academic endeavors. Student Affairs is forever changing and will continue to do so for many years to come.

We need to take students where they are at and help guide students that gives them purpose for everyday life. As a working student affairs professional, there are a lot of challenges facing college students today and I am here in this program to help students adjust to these issues and help them move forward toward a better future and make them realize their potential. I wake everyday writing all these papers because I am passionate and show compassion when working with my residents. I wake up everyday realizing I am going to spend the rest of my life working with college students because I am dedicated to my RA position and my academics in grad school. Therefore, I would like to end my first post with a funny pun about student affairs and why it is essential on college campuses everywhere.