The Women in Housing series is a month-long project featuring the voices, stories, and experiences of women who currently or formerly work in housing and residence life. Today's post was written by Kathryn Magura.
At some point over the last year, I found myself coming to the realization that I am no longer a new or even mid-level housing professional. With over fifteen years of experience, I am a seasoned professional who has the ability (I would argue it’s also a responsibility) to mentor and develop younger housing professionals.
This last year has been one of reflection for me. I was wrapping up my presidential term with NWACUHO, and thinking a lot about what my legacy would be for the region. I had also been listening to a lot (A. LOT.) of Hamilton: An American Musical, so thinking about my legacy and sharing my story was salient to how I approached both my work with NWACUHO and as a woman in housing.
For much of this last year, I was understaffed at work, while also spending a lot of time working to lead a group in the development of a new five-year Master Plan for NWACUHO. I frequently felt like I had no time for myself, and was constantly tired. I was going non-stop, which did not leave much time to pause and reflect on the remarkable experiences I had to share with others. My story is uniquely my own, yet taking the time to share it with others may help them on their own professional journey.
I decided that I needed to slow down and be more intentional in my interactions with others – even while things remained busy. As I worked to hire new staff, and serve as a sort of sage as Past-President of NWACUHO, I had the opportunity to get to know many younger housing professionals. I seized opportunities to have intentional conversations with many of these professionals about their future as well as the future of the University Housing profession. I quickly realized that many of these professionals looked up to me, and valued my experience and years of service as a role model on how to be a successful housing professional.
Wait, what? When did I become the wise George Washington of University Housing? Suddenly, the knowledge that others looked up to me and sought out my advice weighed heavy on me. I don’t want to let these new professionals down. I suppose the best I can do is to continue to strive to be my authentic self. Celebrating my victories, but also make sure I acknowledge and learn from my mistakes. Sharing my story with others helps ensure that my legacy will live on long after me.
*Please don’t sue me, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Kathryn Magura is the Assistant Director for Operations at Oregon State University. Kathryn has been very involved regionally through NWACUHO, and nationally in ACUHO-I. In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys all things pop-culture, wine, microbrews, karaoke and all things Hamilton: An American Musical.
The Women in Housing series is sponsored by Adirondack Solutions.