Waking to the assault of our alarm clock, we try to prepare for the day ahead. From those morning chores that just don’t seem to get done unless we do them (dressing/feeding the kids, letting the dogs out, fixing breakfast, etc.) to the expectations at work, including emails, phone calls, meeting with students and talking to other administrators on campus not to mention our fellow staff members. The fight for our attention is endless, unforgiving and at times unbearable, not to mention exhausting. The attack doesn’t end here – it continues after work as we shop for/prepare dinner, clean the house, do laundry, help with homework and of course be a supportive partner to our other half, until we fall into our bed beaten into submission from the pressures we face and almost take for granted, each and every day.

How do others do this? I see my colleagues who approach each day with such joy and smiles, one might think what am I NOT doing here…???

Let me suggest that the answer may seem a bit counter-intuitive.  I am suggesting that to escape all the pressures on our time that we face, virtually every day, we should actually do more.

One approach to tackling such busy and chaotic days is actually by engaging with and gaining insights from other professionals just like you. You have heard the adage about involvement in other activities where “…you get so much more out than you put in….” This really is true!  You can take control of a lot of your day by learning from others just like you who are facing the same time crunches both professionally and personally. This year we are in a unique position to learn from colleagues from our home state and throughout the Midwest.

In addition to our annual MASFAP conference, this year the MASFAA (Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) Conference is hosted in our own back yard! Join MASFAA in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 2-5, 2016, and MASFAP at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake of the Ozarks on December 12-14, 2016.

Attend not just MASFAP but MASFAA this year to meet new colleagues from across the Midwest Region – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Network with others who face the same challenges and struggles on campus. Learn shortcuts about what works and what doesn’t.  Someone has likely already created the wheel you are about to build.

At both MASFAA and MASFAP, conversations will be swirling about early FAFSA and Prior-Prior Year (PPY), not to mention Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and how this might impact overtime and workloads in the aid office. We all have a special opportunity to extend our personal and professional network over the coming months to discuss items of importance like PPY & FLSA but also to discuss other things like resource management with others who can relate to us. As a Missouri aid officer, you are in a unique position to learn how eight other states are handling important issues. Make sure you take the opportunity to bring that knowledge back to your campus.

Don’t forget about the financial incentive that MASFAP President Angela Karlin shared in the May MASFAP Communication:

  • An original award amount of $200 will be offered to each MASFAP institution for 2016 MASFAA conference registration.
  • If an institution decides not to attend the MASFAA conference, the unused $200 from that institution will go back into the Purdy Scholarship fund to reallocate to those attending.
  • The reallocated $200 will supplement the reimbursement to those institutions attending, therefore increasing the award to over $200 per institution.
  • When MASFAA conference registration opens (hopefully in early June), a deadline will be established for MASFAP institutions to send confirmation of registration with a request for reimbursement of $200 to MASFAP. We will allow approximately one month to submit receipts. It is easiest for all involved for MASFAP to reimburse the institution instead of the MASFAA organization.
  • Also, if for some reason a member from the institution who submitted a request for reimbursement for $200 cannot attend the MASFAA conference, the institution must return the $200 award. In addition, it will be specified that MASFAP members are expected to pay the full registration cost to MASFAA beyond the $200 award.

The 16-17 academic year marks my 35th academic year in this incredible profession.  I can attest to the importance of not just attending but participating in state, regional and national associations.  The tips and tricks learned through sharing with colleagues and the lessons I learned through participating in associations like MASFAP and MASFAA are what help me approach each day with a smile on my face.  I know I am not alone.  I know that with a quick call or email, someone is there to help provide me with input or an answer.  Sometimes, I just need someone to make me laugh and they are there, too!

Don’t let the daily grind take over. Attend conferences so you can learn from peers how to fight back and make the most of your schedule. And don’t forget to participate in professional associations to learn more about yourself than ever before!

I look forward to seeing you at MASFAA and MASFAP. Till then, don’t break your alarm clock……….








By Will Shaffner, MASFAP Associate Delegate

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