Emily Holmes

Emily HolmesAssistant Director for Student Activities
University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, MS

Educational Background:

The University of Southern Mississippi
B.A., Radio TV and Film

The University of Southern Mississippi
M.Ed., College Student Personnel

Number of years in the profession: 4


What have you learned from the profession?

I have learned that it is constantly changing… in a good way. Student affairs professionals have this innate ability to create change for the better.  They are movers and shakers. Looking for ways to make students experiences on campus easy and more meaningful.  It is a pleasure to come to work each day knowing that you are making a difference in someone’s life.

What inspires, motivates, or gets you excited about your job on a daily basis?

Making a difference. I am inspired and motivated by my students seeing the bigger picture. To know that we are impacting their lives in a way that will set them up for success later in life gets me excited about my job.  Those “light bulb” moments where they realize that this experience is a learning lesson for the future and inspires them to be the best they can be.

How did you arrive at your present job?

I have always been an involved person; social person that enjoys others. When I was in college, I was involved in a couple organizations that directly impacted my college experience. I was introduced to Student Activities in a larger capacity when I worked as a graduate assistant in the office 5 years ago.  I worked with some of those same student organizations that I was a member of in my undergraduate education. After I graduated graduate school, I took a job on campus in the First Year Experience Office working with first-year students and doing orientation. After three years there, I left that office and moved back to Student Activities. In this role, I advise the programming board and oversee our 261 student organizations. It honestly felt like I was moving back home and I couldn’t be happier to be where I am now.

Paper Clips 1


 A Typical Day for Emily:

  6:00 a.m.
My husband’s alarm goes off. He has to leave for work before me.  Curse him!

6:30 a.m.
I get out of bed and hop in the shower. Take the dog out. Get dressed and ready at super warp speed because…

7 a.m.
My 2-year-old son wakes up.

7:30 a.m. (if I’m lucky)
We are out the door and he is dropped of at daycare and I am on my way to work. This happens 75% of the time.  The other 25% of time we are dealing with a child in his terrible two’s, what can I say?

7:50 a.m.
I usually get into my office before the day technically starts at 8. I love these few minutes of quiet. No one is around and I can really focus on the day and what it holds in silence. If nothing more, it is peace of mind.

8 a.m.
Check and respond to emails and phone calls. Why do students email at 2 a.m. asking for something they need a 9:30 a.m. that morning? Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part, I write back.

8:30 a.m.
This is typically when I get really hungry/thirsty. Working in the student union means there is food literally outside my door. I consider this convenience a necessary evil. Never too far to go for food but it definitely makes me snack a little more than I should. No time to think about this when my stomach is growling that loudly. Grab something to eat and head back.

9 a.m.
I teach a leadership class to scholarship freshmen students. It isn’t part of my job description and I don’t get paid for it but I honestly LOVE the experience and time I get to spend with these students. It is such a nice break from my typical day-to-day tasks. They are funny- make me laugh and say the darnest things as they navigate this crazy world known as college.

11 a.m.
Check in on my graduate assistant to see how the yearbook staff meeting went that morning.  They have to sell the books this year whereas in past years they have been free to students. They are facing some push back from older students who don’t want to purchase the book since they have always gotten it for free. The yearbook staff were brainstorming ways to better market the book to students for the upcoming year. I am pleased with their ideas and the direction they are taking. It always makes our job easier when you have motivated students to work with.

11:30 a.m.
Meeting with the programming board graduate assistant about an upcoming event that week. Students are putting on an annual Crawfish Fest on Centennial Lawn on campus. It is always a great time. After reviewing our checklist, it looks like everything that needs to be done, it taken care of. Wow, did my students really do everything they were supposed to do and do it on time? Did I enter an alternate universe

Time for lunch. Two other employees that work in the Union and myself head out. One of our favorite places to eat is a Thai restaurant down the road. The only downfall is that you eat so much good food you just want to take a nap when you get back to work!

1 p.m.
Meeting with my Student Activities Committee. We meet each week to go over what events are being held on campus that week and to meet with student organizations about their upcoming events. We provide guidance and help with their Event Planning. Events coming up soon are the Gay/Straight Alliance Prom and a Greek philanthropy event. With over 250 student organizations, we typically have over 50 events on campus each week. Keeps me on my toes!

2:30 p.m.
A student comes to discuss plans for an upcoming 5K race on campus. We have seen the number of 5K’s by student organizations held on campus jump exponentially in the past couple of years. They are always fun, successful events.

3 p.m.
After the student leaves, I catch up on emails for a bit and head upstairs to check our department mail and speak with my boss, Fran, about refining some of our policies and procedures for next year. We have been working with our legal counsel on campus to get our current polices up to speed with other policies. It is a tedious but necessary task. One we have, hopefully, almost completed.

4 p.m.
End up chatting with Fran way too long. We talked about cats, light fixtures and all kinds of other random stuff. Tie up some loose ends around the office. Check all offices for a random missing key. Throw away some files I have been staring at for way too long. Final check  and respond of emails for the day.

4:30 p.m.
Head over to Event Services for a quick meeting about a potential candidate for a new position in their office that I am serving on the search committee for. Grab some information to look over on my way out the door and to my car. Another day in the books. Back to the grind tomorrow.

Updated Aug. 9, 2012