As a parent, the phrase “Don’t blink” is strongly advised. The beginning of parenthood can be a shock to the system… doctor visits, endless feedings and many diapers are just a few rituals that make time feel as if it comes to a standstill… and that’s just during year one. “Will it ever end?” is a question you would ask yourself if you could find a moment among the chaos.
However, things change. Quickly. You don’t know how or when, but soon that baby can stand and kick things (usually things they’re not supposed to) and say things (sometimes words they’re not supposed to say). Then they start school, play sports, go on dates, and eventually fly the nest. “That went fast,” you think to yourself, partially sad but mostly in awe. You rolled with each change, the small ones and the enormous changes. Moreover, you think back nostalgically, “How did I handle all that?” Through no choice of yours, that child evolved and you had to change to meet those needs whether you were ready or not. Accepting the inevitability of change is tough, especially after investing so much into it.
Similar advice might be shared with a new financial aid professional, but with one small tweak… rather than “Don’t blink”, it would be “Learn to blink a lot”.
Financial aid can be complex and unrelenting, with change always on the horizon – sometimes more challenging, sometimes less. Like parenting, one challenge is sure to end, but a new one is always around the corner. Similarly, the better you are at adapting to those changes, the better chance you will have at succeeding as a financial aid professional.
I have worked with financial aid for 6 years. And just like my years as a parent, that time has flown by. Because the field changes so frequently, at times I believe I am nowhere near adept. Some days, I don’t feel like I can even begin to describe what all goes into working in financial aid. And on many occasions I think, “Will I ever be an expert in this?”
Nevertheless, for now, I take a deep breath… blink… and change the many metaphorical “financial aid” diapers of the day. Because at least I have learned that tomorrow may be different, as change is unavoidable.
To end my blog with something fun… have you ever asked your kids what they think you do at work? Take a look at what my child wrote and what some our colleagues’ kids had to say:
Sarah Bright is MASFAP’s 2018 Newcomer Chair