Think back to a moment in time when for a few moments, everything in the world seemed right. When things were just falling into place, and everyone was just clicking.
For the past two days I’ve been away on a training retreat with my fellow office staff and student directors to prepare for the up coming school year. For both days we were setting the base work for planning student events on campus which included talking about mission and vision, our structure, expectations, the 101s of programming, and what weekly meetings will be like etc. We also, of course, did a significant amount of challenges and low ropes courses highlighting communication styles, awareness, team work, strengths and weaknesses and so forth.
I know we all learned something over that 36 hour time span we were together.
But for me, what has really stuck with me the most, was our canoeing adventure. There were no key characteristic assessments or specific learning outcome to achieve other than just being together. I was in a canoe with Mallory, one of our awesome new Events Directors. We chatted and canoe raced the other canoes and just kinda floated around the lake learning more about each other.
At one point we realized that we were taking on water pretty quickly. So we rowed to shore and swapped out canoes. And as we were rowing back out to join our fellow canoers, there was a moment when I was having a great conversation with Mallory and also able to see everyone else out on the lake. Some were just chilling and floating along, others were creating adventures in the lilies, and yet others were jumping into the lake (literally). But at that moment, I got a shiver of chills. It was a quintessential vision and experience of what I love about Student Affairs. It was people coming together, enjoying life, learning about each other, experiencing and trying new things and just having fun. Its one of those memories that will always be engrained in my mind.
We all get bogged down in the daily mires of tasks and responsibilities, contracts, scholarship processing, registration, advising, parents, programs and more. And sometimes one just needs that little reminder of why we do our job and what the basic foundation of our field is for; to create experiences for our students and in a way ourselves, to learn, love experience and grow.
So think about that time you had a moment when you said to yourself “THIS is why I am a Student Affairs Professional” and hold on to that and use that as a tool to get you through those rough days. Because it is SO worth it even if they may be few and far between moments in our lives.
Until next time,
Peace, Love and Pandas!