Today was the first day of classes at Clark. Although I was rightfully anxious about finding parking and navigating a slew of “Add/Drop” requests, the day went fairly well. I arrived early and found parking. I snagged a new planner and handbook for my reference. I enjoyed a Cupcake Royale salted caramel cupcake that I brought home with me from Seattle.
And I did everything I could to make the overwhelming first day a bit better for others.
The most stressful part of my day was when a student checked in and requested me as her advisor. She had been told second-hand that I was the person that could answer all her questions. She had some doozies, most of them encompassing, “What would you do if you were me?”
I answered as I technically should have, explaining statistics and policies. However, I interjected my own personality. I added in some academic counseling. I added some encouragement. I did what I could to make our conversation as human and real as possible.
That’s what I do every day, for all my students. I had a student ask me if I had angry students in my cubicle all the time. I thought about it, and primarily, I see students who just need someone to help find the answers to their questions. I get my frustrated students, yet often, I get it. I have been there. I have been angry and upset with the system (in fact, I’m so incredibly frustrated with Direct Loan Servicing for my own loans right now, it’s not even remotely funny). In many cases, it’s about being able to empathize and meet them where they are, even if it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
I find myself tired some days, although more often than not, it’s because I’ve been exerting natural energy. I am energized by the positive people around me, and I share that with whomever I can. Some days, my energy net balance is positive, and some days, it’s lower. I never know how things will go, and that’s okay. Variety is not just okay, it’s part of life, and it’s to be embraced.
I remind myself that if I didn’t like working with people, I would have sought a data-entry job a long time ago. Nothing good truly finds its way to me easily, and again, that’s okay.
It’s the perseverance that counts, and I will do my best to share that feeling with each and every one of my students.
Even if it means that I have to tell twenty of them on Thursday, “No, seriously. The class is closed, and you need a different one.”
Happy Fall, everyone. Now that we quarter-system schools are back in session, it’s official time for the seasons to turn. 🙂