Read the Text to Learn What’s Next

by: Daniel DeHollander

How many of your students are having similar conversations to the one captured below? Be the person who promotes professional development and career exploration by encouraging your students to register for NextGen! To learn more, visit the NextGen Website!

A: Hey … do u have a min to chat? B: Yeah. What’s up? A: I’m struggling bc idk what I want to do after graduation. I wish I could be an RA forever *scared face emoji*! B: I’m sorry. But ik what you mean. I love my job in the University Volunteer Center! B: Have u talked to anyone about this? Your boss?

A: Yeah. I talked to my RD. A: She said she felt the same way her senior year ... she said that she entered college wanting to pursue a different career but eventually became an RD and now wants to be a Dean of Students one day. B: Could you see yourself doing that? Your RD has A LOT of energy! And you … *image of dog with caption i'm not sleeping, just resting my eyes*

A: Haha! A: Maybe. I like being an RA but if I worked on a college campus I would probably want to work in Student Activities or something like that. B: Do you have to go to graduate school for that? A: Hmmmm? Idk. I’m gonna email my RD about this. She has been mentoring me a lot and could be a guide for both of us. B: Ok. Let me know what you learn! I gotta get to class!

B: meme of sloth saying hello there! B: So. Did you hear back from your RD? A: Yeah! And she referred me to a few websites. A: I’m finding a TON of stuff about working in student affairs! That is what they call all the staff who support students outside the classroom. These are areas like housing, orientation, student conduct, and stuff like that.

 A: Some jobs require a master’s degree, but some are available to people with a bachelor’s. B: Awesome! You sound excited about this! A: It looks like there are even conferences for people who work in student affairs and higher education. Do you want to go to one? It’s in Boston! B: Ummm sure. But what exactly is in Boston? When?

A: ACPA is hosting a convention there in March. There’s a part of the convention called NextGen for undergraduate students who are interested in student affairs. B: meme of cat saying wait, what? B: What’s ACPA? What do they do there? A: Looks like there are sessions about networking, job searches, graduate school searches, and social justice.

A: ACPA is a “comprehensive professional association that advances student affairs and engages students for a lifetime of learning and discovery.” B: Social justice? A: Yeah. It looks like ACPA does a lot of social justice education. A: Franchesca Ramsey is going to be the opening keynote speaker at the convention! B: Makes sense. My boss at the Volunteer Center trains us a lot on diversity and inclusion. I wonder if he knows about ACPA?

 B: I love Franchesca! A: So … do you want to go? NextGen is March 2nd and 3rd. B: Maybe. It sounds fun! I’m going to talk to my boss about ACPA and NextGen. Can I get back to you? A: Of course! But I’m going to register soon … looks like early registration for NextGen is open through December 7 and there are scholarship opportunities included with registration. B: I’m interested! I’ll get back to you ASAP! I’m sure I’m going to have a million questions.


Daniel DeHollander (he, him, his) is the Case Manager for Residence Life at American University. Daniel has been a member of ACPA for seven years, and he is currently serving on his second Convention Team. Daniel has a Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Geneseo and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education from the University of Arizona. Daniel just got a new cell phone and misses the days when phones didn’t have internet.

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