19 Things I Learned in 2019 Working in Higher Education

Before I say goodbye to 2019, I have to acknowledge everything I learned this year, working in higher education. I hope that my lessons will inspire you to reflect on your 2019 and, as always, please share your thoughts in the comments.


The current generation of students struggles so much more than I at first realized (financially, mentally and academically)


I had a lot of privilege growing up, especially when it comes to my college education


I did not encounter a lot of the challenges my students face


My job is not to solve all of their problems for them, no matter how much I want to


It is part of my job, however, to provide my students with the tools and resources they need to come up with their own solutions


Families, and their opinions, are an important component in the decision making and career choices of the majority of my students and thus must be considered when advising them


Getting mad or frustrated about some of the unprofessional emails I receive from students will not keep them from flooding my inbox


If you tell students that one of your events has limited space available, they are more likely to show up (I guess I learned something from my time working retail after all)


Sending out more emails (that’s right! more, not less) has led to more students actually reading my emails (the key: a mix of reminder emails and just fun, more personal emails: i.e. pictures of my dog in a Christmas sweater)


Feeding into the negativity of others, even if they are your friends, is toxic and halts growth


There is no such thing as the perfect moment to try something new or take a risk


My voice is not the most important voice in the room


Advising students is my purpose in life


Discipline is crucial to success


I love teaching and my students took notice


Lo-Fi Beats playlist on Spotify is the perfect playlist for getting shit done


A big part of working in higher ed is that almost everyone genuinely cares


It’s really easy to spot when someone is only in higher ed for the money (joke’s on you, btw, if you picked higher ed for the money)


When I was 16, I thought that by 25, with two degrees and a full-time job, I’d know what I was doing and have it all together. Joke’s on me this time!

What are some lessons you learned in 2019? I’d love to read them in the comments!

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