Ever gotten up early on a Saturday morning with an errand to run and found yourself in your parking spot at work? Ha! Well, maybe you haven’t made it all the way to work, but you were close when you remembered it was Saturday. What helped you to remember was the commute seemed quicker than normal as the streets had less traffic and you were beating your normal time. Finally when it dawned on you it was Saturday, you cracked up, shook your head, turned your car around and headed toward your original destination. Yep, this can happen sometimes, we get so used to our daily routine that we are on auto pilot, and we find ourselves just driving.
The work we do every day in Financial Aid is important! We are meeting with students and their families, answering phone calls, responding to e-mails, working reports, training, prepping for a presentation, etc. There may even be times when we stay late just to finish it all or get to a good stopping point. And yes, on these days we may feel it’s a lot, but at the end of the day, we know it is all worth it. Yes, our students are worth it. But guess what? You are too!
It is equally important that we are taking care of ourselves and I’m not just talking about the obvious things, eating right, sleeping, exercising, etc. But taking the time to just B.R.E.A.T.H.E, be present in the moment and aware of our surroundings. During your next early morning commute (actually to work this time, haha) allow yourself notice the beautiful scenery along the drive. Try not to think about the workday of ahead of you, because it will be there waiting for you when you get there, trust me. Breathe. Notice. Enjoy! These three things will make for a good start to your workday.
Starting in June of 2015, MASFAP has started taking advantage of online bill pay options through our bank. We started off experimenting with reimbursements for expenses to members to see if the process would work well, and it has. We are able to use these online options for paying venders and for reimbursing individuals for organizational expenses.
So what does this mean for the organization? There are lots of benefits! It has reduced the costs associated with paying bills. We no longer have to pay for stamps, envelopes, and paper checks, and online bill pay is free! It reduces time requirements for budget and finance committee members by taking just seconds to set up a payee, and once the payee information is entered into bill pay, it is easy to make payment. No one has to make time to write out several checks, which means we are able to make payments timelier. And finally, we have reduced some of our financial risk. No one is carting around a large binder with lots of checks at risk of being lost or stolen.
There is one thing of note to the new process. Please be aware that the envelopes can look like junk mail. If you have submitted an expense reimbursement, be on the lookout and don’t throw it away. Using bill pay, my turnaround time on reimbursements has been one day or less….because it takes so much less time! After I issue the notice for payment, you will receive your check in about seven to ten days. Fancy, huh?
I hope your first week or two of classes are going well and that the lines are short! I have been knocking on wood all week because our first week seems to be relatively smooth.
I wanted to take a moment and give you an update on what the Technology Committee is working on. Most of our work so far has been keeping information up-to-date and making sure you can all register for the fabulous professional development events. In fact, there are still two more you can register for on www.masfap.org right now!
We have been busy reviewing other state associations’ websites in order to determine some of the best practices in website design. Look for changes during the next several months – I hope you will think the website is ‘picture’ perfect! Melissa Findley, Communication Chair, is also on the Technology committee and has been working with our website provider, ATAC, to see how we can ramp up the blog, MASFAP Matters. And we are also discussing what we can do as a committee to provide more value to the MASFAP 2015 Conference.
I want to thank my committee volunteers. I am very proud of the Technology Committee this year and appreciate all this committee’s thoughts and ideas so far! It is refreshing to see so many willing to pitch in. With that said, if you haven’t volunteered on a committee yet, please do! Every voice counts!
I also want to thank two departing Technology Committee members in particular for their work with this committee. Linda Loyd has been on the committee many years and has done a super job making sure that we are paying our bills – thank you for all you have done for MASFAP! And Matthew Boyd provided feedback and support to keep us moving in the right direction. I wanted to thank them both for their participation!
I look forward to seeing all of you at the conference – November 9-11!
Bridgette Betz, Technology Chair
Constitution Day is just around the corner on September 17, 2015. I was wondering if any MASFAP members have quizzes, information or suggestions for Constitution Day? The Student Council/Student Government sponsors have been asking, and in the past MASFAP members have had some helpful ideas or suggestions. Please comment on this blog or feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your input!
I recently read some stock market volatility tips, and I realized that these same tips can also be tips for financial aid professionals.
- Stay away from media frenzy The media likes drama. Consider the sources. Be aware, but be cautious in what you absorb from media outlets. Sure there are some real issues that are detrimental; however, there is much positive that doesn’t get as much air time.
- Stay the course Be steady. Trust your experience. Confide in colleagues. Encourage one another. Pray.
- Stay focused on the long-term view Grab a Post-It note. Write the date for your next graduation ceremony on it. Think back over the past years when your favorite, challenging students began attending and how much time, sweat and tears…and Ibuprofen/Tums you have consumed. Recall the ones who made it, shook your President’s hand and took home that diploma. Write some names on that Post-It. Savor the victories. We all make a huge difference in the lives of families. Persevere. Now write at least one name of a current student that will graduate in that next ceremony, even if you have to hold their hand down the aisle. And then finally, pray they don’t come back for another degree. J
May the course be with you, straight and steady. Stay. Stay. Stay.
See you in November at the Fall Conference!