Are we just financial aid professionals? NO!
How many times have you walked a student to your office only to find out that their concerns were not directly related to financial aid? How do you respond? Do you help them? Do you send them to another office?
The financial aid professionals I know always, always, always help students in need. Do you often feel you should have several hats and a few more letters behind your name? I know I do! We need couches and boxes of tissues for counseling sessions, patents for our personal navigation endeavors, pom-poms for our cheerleading sessions, and a few more rooms in our homes for the amount of children we parent on a daily basis.
Although we frequently encounter: challenges, changing regulations, demanding students and parents, and piecemeal attempts at departmental collaboration, having a career as a financial aid administrator has always been rewarding. We have the pleasure of working and networking with the most compassionate, knowledgeable, and caring individuals.
The job we do cannot and should not be taken lightly, WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE. You may have been accidentally hired into financial aid like many, or promoted from work-study to life-study, but however you arrived, we are glad to have you here. Sit back and think of the amount of goals you have been instrumental in helping students and their families attain. We are more than professionals, we are servant leaders. We provide requisite training for our profession and we advocate for our students. WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
We may not get paid millions of dollars, but we receive an abundance of gratitude and smiles. If getting rich was a life objective, financial aid would not be our chosen profession. We are here because we genuinely love what we do and it shows in our state and regional associations. WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
As we switch hats throughout the day between being financial aid professionals, counselors, cheerleaders, therapists, and possibly more, life is easier when you recognize that you have colleagues to lean on who may experience the same hardships, challenges, and life-changing rewards.
WE DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the everyday lives of students! The reward of the accomplishments of students provides us each with additional compensation. While this compensation may not be monetary, it is fulfilling in many other ways. The power of networking and collaboration comes to life each time I call one of my friends in financial aid with the certainty that at the end of the conversation, I will feel less overwhelmed. Remember when you are working tirelessly, your SASFAA, VASFAA, and FASFAA families are here supporting you and working diligently as well and are more than happy to talk you through your day.
At the next in-person professional development event make sure you speak with someone you have not met before and exchange information. One day you will think to yourself, “Wow, I met this person at a conference, and I bet they will have the answer to this!” You may find yourself speaking to that same individual periodically throughout the year.
Be all that you can and gather as many resources as you can to continue to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Stephanie Watson, FASFAA President &
Tarik Boyd, VASFAA President