IMG_3186Bonjour de montréal!

Hello from Montreal!

Its been another whirlwind convention, and on this final day, I’ve gone for my morning walk to the Bagel Express to get my coffee and croissant and found a colorful corner to reflect for a few moments.

This entire convention has been an eye opening experience. From the chuckle of forgiveness by my taxi driver when I got nervous and spoke in Spanish to catching up with some amazing student affairs people to walking around the city. It has been amazing and a reminder that experiences and learning never stop.

But yesterday, while walking around the city, I realized what could sum up this entire convention for me. And all in a  single word, which fittingly is partially derived from French: juxtaposed.

Walking around the city, you find the gorgeous history of the city in its amazingly preserved stone buildings, which stand side by side the modern architecture of glass and steel. You can soak in the regal muted tones  of stone, brick and mortar alongside the brilliant colors of the rainbow accenting the streets and buildings. But it all comes together in what seems to be a harmonious world of tradition and newness, history and dreams for the future.

And for me this contrasting side continued inside the Palais des congrès de montréal, the location of #ACPA16. While listening to the conversations, speakers and presentations a theme of a similar juxtaposition became a theme I noticed. Whether it be:

Teaching others with self-teaching

Theory with practice

Not being able to trust the job search in order to secure a job

Who we are physically and digitally

Quantifying our qualities

Follow leading

Credentials and degrees with experience

Even the Critical Issues Debates hosted by, which were fantastic, seemed to point to the juxtaposition of ideals and practices we, as Student Affairs practitioners hold to.

Courtesy of
And these are only a few of them that I noticed and have reflected upon over the past few days.

But if there’s a secondary theme to #ACPA16 that I could come to, it would be that this contrast was ok and even great at times.

For me, this contrasting is what makes our field so unique in many ways. The juxtaposition we find ourselves in many times with policies, procedures, best practice, colleagues, politics, etc., along with what seems to be an innate heightened sense of awareness is what gets us to address issues. It continues pushing us and driving us to care, to return to our offices and to research and experience. It reminds us that each journey is different and unique and that one path does not fit all.

IMG_3135The key though, is to step up and raise our voices. To say the unpleasantries to speak your truth and be willing to talk about these contrasts and our juxtaposed journeys through life and our profession in whatever way and/or platform you feel comfortable with so that we can continue improving, understanding and developing ourselves and our students to the best of our ability.

This is where I’m at so far with my reflecting and processing of all that has taken place over the last few days at #ACPA16. But since I had time (and my croissant and coffee) thought I’d share with you where I currently was with my processing.

If you were at #ACPA16 I hope you had a great time, learned lots and networked like a fiend, and if not, I hope you followed on the backchannel! And I  hope to see you next year in Columbus at #ACPA17!!

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!


Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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