Attending TPE and NASPA
By Jake Frasier
After eleven days in Baltimore, Maryland I am finally back in sunny Florida. I was fortunate to attend both The Placement Exchange (TPE) and the NASPA annual conference in Baltimore this year, and it’s hard to believe they’ve come to an end. As a second year graduate student, we spend an incredible amount of time fine tuning our resumes, perfecting our cover letters, and purchasing the perfect interview outfit – all in preparation of the job search in the Spring.
The first step on this exciting adventure is The Placement Exchange, which is essentially an enormous job fair with hundreds of employers all searching for the perfect candidate to fill their vacant positions. As a candidate, we’re told for months on end leading up to the event that it can be overwhelming. My first thought when arriving to TPE for the first day of interviews was a bit different, however - while there were a ton of people there, I did not feel overwhelmed at all. I attribute my ability to maintain my energy throughout the day of interviews to my extroversion and the fact that I love meeting new people and hearing about their unique experiences. The setup of TPE consisted of various interview “neighborhoods” where a multitude of interview tables were set up and divided by curtains. Additionally, there were four waiting areas determined by candidates’ last names – this is where you really bonded with the other candidates. It was fantastic to interact with folks from other institutions and hear about their experiences, but also be there as support and share some encouraging words.
One of the greatest observations I had during TPE is how incredibly prepared I felt throughout the four days of interviews. During each interview I was really able to speak to the phenomenal experiences I’ve had at Florida State and felt prepared to take on anything. Whether it was mock interviews in our Capstone course, practice interviews with my supervisor, or the amount of research I did for each position, I never felt like I was burning out. Once TPE concluded, I shifted my focus to the NASPA annual conference, which started immediately after TPE ended.
Last year I was fortunate to be able to attend the ACPA annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada so I was really looking forward to seeing how NASPA compared to my experience at ACPA. While some folks told me ACPA and NASPA have certain disparities, I really didn’t notice any glaring differences. Similar to my experience at ACPA, I felt incredibly proud to be from Florida State – so many of the interactions I had were with someone who shared a connection with a colleague at Florida State or they had attended our program and were a member of our LifeNet. As the conference continued, my pride in our program continued to grow as I attended several of my peers’ conference presentations and saw what phenomenal professionals we have all become. Thinking back to our matriculation in 2012, it’s amazing to see just how much we’ve all learned and how we’re investing that knowledge back into the profession.
My NASPA experience was really rounded out with our annual Florida State University reception. There were well over 100 individuals who, in some way, have been a part of the Florida State LifeNet. Seeing the breadth of experiences and knowledge in that one room was incredible. As I approach graduation, I can honestly say my experience at Florida State has been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life and I cannot wait to see where my colleagues and myself end up.