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The Power of Connection

by Anna Perry,
Title IX Investigator, Student Conduct and Community Standards

As an undergraduate student, every aspect of college life can be intimidating–moving to a new place, finding friends, or even locating a class can seem like a daunting, impossible task. My story begins in the residence halls, where I first found my connection to campus. This connection came in the form of a professional in Student Life believing in my ability to connect with fellow students– I became a resident assistant (RA). As an RA, I made connections with my peers who were taking chances on themselves, making leaps and bounds in arenas that I had never explored. It was through my connection with the residents that I found a sense of hope–hope for their future and, in turn, my own. Once I graduated, I wanted to continue that connection I so enjoyed during my undergraduate career, and that very passion led me back to residence life to become an assistant hall director (AHD).

As an AHD, I sat with students through their highs and lows. I learned that connection can be found in many ways; connecting may be celebrating their recent success or sitting with them as they endure tough moments. It has always been that every connection has driven my passion for student affairs–seeing a student make a new friend, join a club, or even find the building their class is in, right in time. It’s the power of connection, as simple or as complex as it may be, that keeps my heart in the work. By connecting with students and professionals, I have been able to expand my knowledge by learning from the stories and experiences of others. I am now one year into my first full-time position, and I feel so fortunate to have colleagues and friends across the university that are always willing to be there for support, guidance, and, above all, connection.