Home » Learning » Professional Identity Essay

Professional Identity Essay

Who am I as a person? Who am las a professional? These questions are constantly going through my mind when I think about who I want to be as a professional. This paper will discuss what strategies I am using to help influence my professional identity and how I deal with failure and what role it plays in my developing professional identity. This paper will focus on my journey through the first year of graduate school and what areas I have seen growth and areas I still need to develop. What strategies am I engaging to develop my professional identity?

As I am still trying to develop my professional identity, I have found that I often rely on areas of strength in my professional life and strengths that align with my personality. One of my key strategies is volunteering for as much as possible during my time at the University of Iowa. I have volunteered with FSL during rush week, been a CriticalMASS mentor and various other activities during the first year. I generally enjoy working with different offices and getting to know the other professionals in different departments.

Working with different offices is a professional strength of mine because I am generally an easygoing person and can often bring new ideas to the table. This also plays into my professional strengths because I am a people person and can usually get along with many different groups and individuals. I have found it to be beneficial to get to know as many different people at a university as quickly as possible, because then I can work on more projects and break through the natural silos of higher education.

One of the biggest impacts from the Creating Your Professional Identity: Tips for First Year, Full-Time Staff article was the section on not saying yes to everything. Going back to my undergraduate experience, I remember saying yes to anything I was asked to do. However, I was not always interested in each project or team but said yes anyway. I was taught by society that this was the correct thing to do and also believed it to be true myself. I thought no matter what I could learn from something or grow to like it. I also thought it was “bad” to say no and that I would be “shooting myself in the foot” if I said no.

Graduate school has taught me that I have to be more intentional when I say yes because I have very limited time for extra activities. I have also learned to be very intentional with what experiences I seek out. I know that I want my first job to be a live-in residence position, so I am intentional with seeking out experiences (practicum, internship and volunteer hours) with offices that will help grow and develop my skills as a residence education professional. However, this means that I do have to be willing to say no to other experiences that I do not believe will be the most beneficial or help in my development.

Another big take away from the article is the note about selfcare during the first professional job. With knowing that I want to be in residence education I will have to work on-call rotations and night hours and I will have to be intentional with my selfcare time. While I am a very social person, I am also someone who needs “me” time which involved binge watching Netflix or play Xbox. I have learned that it is actually better for me to schedule this time into my schedule because then I know 1) have time for it and 2) I stop watching or playing when it is time to move on to the next task.

I will continue this practice into my first full-time job because it will most likely be very stressful and I know how important my personal self-care is to me. How do personally engage failure & what is its role in my budding professional identity? “Failure is not an option”, has probably gone through my head every day since I started college. A back-story to why failure is not an option is probably needed and is also important when understanding who I am becoming as a new professional. In K-12 school, I struggled almost the entire time. I was told I would never accomplish anything and often felt stupid compared to my peers.

I would often get bored with school and thus not pay attention and felt homework was just busy work, so I would not complete it. It wasn’t that I was stupid I just wasn’t engaged. When I started college it was a clean slate and no one knew me and I could prove I was just as smart, if not smarter than most. The vork went away and we only had to focus on test. papers and projects. I started to excel both inside and outside the classroom as I became more involved on my campus. The above information is important because it is why I refuse to “fail”.

I choose to “fail” my first eighteen years of my life when it came to school, work and family and I cannot go back to this. I will continue to push myself to the limit and understand there may be road bumps or tough times, but do not look at those as failures. Failure, to me, is too negative of a word and it implies you let someone down, including yourself. While there will be times I hit a rough patch, to me this is just a learning point and I will get through it. (Maybe I just have a problem with the word failure, because of how I see my K-12 experience).

My growing professional identity is heavily influenced by my K-12 mindset and I must always keep that in mind. I am someone who is going to try and say yes to everything, be overly involved and give 110% at my job. While this is draining at times, I find more relief in succeeding and proving my K-12 mindset wrong. Proving that I am worth something and that I will accomplish something with my life. As a new professional I need to remember saying no is not failing, but saving my extra time for events and issues that are important to me and areas that I will make the most impact.

A true failure would be over committing to many goals and then dropping the ball. If this were to happen, I could be letting down a team and thus having a negative impact on a student at some level. Conclusion Tam very relieved that I still have a year of graduate school to continue to figure out who I am as a person and develop as a professional. I am so happy that I choose to attend a two year program over some of the one year programs, because I could not imagine being ready to enter the work force right now.

I have a lot of internal conflicts that still need to be resolved both in my personal and professional life. I need to better embrace the understanding of failure, even if I don’t agree with the term and understand that I am still learning something when I fall flat on my face. I need to insert “NO” into my vocabulary and understand that it is ok to use when I am burnt out or already over committed. I also need to remember that this journey to becoming a professional is not one I should take solo, but with the support of the faculty, cohort, family, friends and past mentors who are all supporting me.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.