Description: Lixing Li is currently an academic advisor at Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School. Lixing serves as our Blog and Podcast Editor and in this blog, she shares her experience as the first time attendee for ACPA annual conference in St.Louis, MO that happened back in March 2022.
If you ask me what my biggest takeaway was from ACPA 2022 Conference, I will tell you, I met so many great people in person after two more years in the pandemic and I have finally reconnected with my passion for higher education.
This is my first time attending the ACPA annual conference. I have been working in student affairs and international education for eight years, time flies! It wasn’t until last year that I learned and got a closer connection with ACPA. I heard about ACPA from a friend of mine, Yuezhong Zheng, when I was feeling frustrated, lost at my daily work, and I was trying to figure out where I should go next. Yuezhong was the Chair of the ACPA Commission for Global Dimensions of Student Development (CGDSD) and highly recommended me to join the team. We were chatting via Zoom, but I could clearly feel her positive energy come through the small screen. I enjoyed hearing her experience with ACPA and beyond, which aroused my curiosity and enthusiasm. Right after our meeting, I did further research on this organization and CGDSD. Later, I participated in their virtual International Colloquium and met so many young professionals who share similar experiences with me. I decided to join the commission as a Directorate Board member as one of the commission blog and podcast editors. Pandemic has not been a positive thing except for the blessing of the fact that I found a team, a home with so many great colleagues in this field, who are pursuing their dreams and becoming better people like we all try to do despite challenges we face. We share our highs and lows, our happiness and struggles. We learn, encourage, and inspire each other.
Today, I will not summarize the education sessions at the conference, but I would like to share more about my intangible feelings. For those of you who are pedagogy majors, you must have heard of implicit and explicit curricula. I believe all the great sessions, workshops, seminars in the conference already have their explicit curricula delivered to their audience, so today I think I will use this blog to share the intangible implicit impacts on my life and career.
My first discovery is that there are many outstanding talents, especially young graduate students and young professionals who are studying in student affairs or working actively to be involved in higher education and international education. I am happy to see that more and more young people are interested in this field. When I was studying in the higher education administration program in graduate school 8 years ago, there were not many students, especially international students in this program. It is exciting to see flourishing developments in this field; experienced professionals and new professionals interact, learn, share and mentor each other. Meeting and talking with these people, I recalled my passion for this field and got further inspired by them. I participated in almost every single educational session block and workshop, just like when I was a student eight years ago. I am eager to learn and explore new ideas. This fulfillment makes me happy and satisfied.
My second discovery is that there are many great workshops and seminars about supporting international students, faculty, and staff and these sessions received much attention from the audience. I am proud that our commission has been advocating for international students, faculty, and staff and provided many endorsed sessions that support international education. I could not stop thinking about how I could contribute to them in the future. My brain is filled with different ideas that encourage me to work on a future proposal, present, advocate, share and learn through the inspiration of peers and our attendees that I met at the ACPA conference.
My third discovery is more personal. I feel more confident when I intentionally try to get out of my comfort zone. I went to different workshops not only to learn but also to speak up, to share, and engage in meaningful dialogues with others. At that point, I recognized that when I have those meaningful conversations with others, it led to a space of unlearning and relearning of an impactful sharing with each other. Social networking is never my forte, but ACPA 2022 conference provided me the platform to meet many great people alike who we could quickly identify and grow with each other.
There are struggles and challenges in our field, but we should never forget why we started this work and hold on to our passion to accomplish our goals. Meeting with all these excellent professionals reminds me of the lifelong learning and development in our field, no matter where we are in our career trajectory. We should always keep lifelong learning in mind and continue to offer mentorship and support to peers and colleagues.
Bio of Lixing:
Lixing Li is originally from Guangzhou, China. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary English Education from the University of South Carolina Upstate and her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from the College of William and Mary. Lixing is currently an academic advisor at Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School. Having been living, studying, and working in the United States for almost ten years, Lixing has extensive experience working in international admissions, recruitment, programming, and cross-cultural teaching and learning. Lixing is also serving as one of the Directory Board members in the ACPA Commission for Global Dimensions of Student Development.