TPE Onsite is quite the experience for anyone entering student affairs as an employer or soon to be employee. I say that because my first time attending was as an employer in New Orleans and I did not have any experience to draw from. In the past, I conducted many interviews as a professional but nothing can truly prepare you for the experience.
There were rows upon rows of schools and professionals eager to begin the interview process. The efficiency of TPE Onsite really amazed me because you have 15-20 schools conducting interviews at the same time in very large sections. I am definitely an introvert, so adjusting to the process took a little time for me - but I believe the beignets from Café Du Monde may have helped!
After reflecting I realized that TPE is a creator. It creates opportunity for impact, develops professionals, and begins a life cycle. For example, the brightest and most energetic minds of student affairs professionals begin their job search journey. Those participants then develop as professionals at their respective institutions then return back to TPE as employers. Once employed, they provide opportunity and mentorship for the future of student affairs practitioners.
While reflecting I also noticed that most of the participants had a euphoric feel and look. I realize the expression I saw on so many of their faces was the determination to create impact. At the time I was unable to understand the magnitude of TPE, but when I analyzed the experience it allowed me to appreciate every moment.
If your experience is similar to mine then know you will feel every emotion possible during this event. I found myself smiling uncontrollably hoping for particular candidates to accept our invitation to campus, and also feeling like I could cry because our students would miss out on an awesome professional all in the matter of two hours.
The Placement Exchange is an event all student affairs professionals should experience at some point in their life. If you are on the planning committee, search committee, or just searching for the right fit, I highly recommend TPE.
Jamartae Jackson is currently a Residence Director at Texas State University located in San Marcos Texas. His passion lies in men and masculinity, servant leadership, social justice, storytelling, research and student development. He aspires to help men develop into successful members of society through male initiatives that will educate and enhance each student. His hope is that education through dialogue will lead to greater respect for all people.