At this point in the year many collegians are wrapping up their school year, taking finals and starting new internships or jobs. Now is a great time to reflect, document and transition before you get too wrapped up in whatever comes next. Think back to the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. How much progress did you make? What did you accomplish? I like to write out a list of what I worked on and what I accomplished each year. This is good for two purposes. First, I find it too easy for myself to focus on the negatives ( “but I could have done X better!”) and it’s nice to have a reminder of the positive things I accomplished to balance my thinking. Also, it can prove very useful in a few years when you may not be able to remember all the specifics of your achievements. This can be vital information for award applications and job interviews. Starting your “SWE resume” early can help you keep track of your growth and progress for future SWE leadership roles, and it can come in handy at work too. I like to keep track of my other activities outside of SWE as well. After reflecting on and documenting your accomplishments from the past year it becomes much easier to set new goals for the upcoming year and tweak your five-year plan.
For those in leadership positions, it is also incredibly important to focus on the transition between the outgoing and incoming leadership before the old leaders are too far removed from their old role or the new leaders are too deep into their new role. Keeping notes throughout the year to share with them is fantastic, but experience shows that discussing what to expect is what makes the biggest difference in a new leaders’ comfortability and capability in their new role. An example of my own: I’ve been working with the FY14 region collegiate representatives (RCR) to understand their experience so that we can improve the RCR program and training for FY15. The RCRs who held transition meetings with their predecessors reported feeling significantly better prepared for the role than those who did not. It can be very overwhelming and disheartening to take on a new role without any transition or support from the outgoing leaders. If you haven’t scheduled a transition meeting yet, it’s not too late! Even if you are in separate locations you can still hold a virtual meeting.
To all graduating SWE members, I highly encourage you to renew your membership and connect with your local professional section in your new location. Having the immediate support network and connections SWE provides helps immensely with the transition to new places and life experiences. Even moving back to my home state, I found it incredibly helpful to get involved with the SWE Hartford section. I’ve made many new friends and found valuable mentors both within my company and at others in the area. Best of luck to everyone with any remaining exams and in your transitions to new leadership positions, internships and careers.
FY14 Collegiate Director
Letter from the All Together SWE Newsletter