Well, it’s that time of the year. I’ve made it through my first semester of Residential Life at the University of Missouri – Columbia. It’s been really rewarding but there have also been some challenges. All of these things come to mind because it’s also the time of year when student staff members do self evaluations. Those, in and of themselves, are pretty sobering because you’re forced to think about what you’ve done thus far, how you’ve improved and how you need to continue to improve. So, I thought that if I had to write a formal self evaluation I should write an informal blog post as well.
But here’s the thing…if you’ve been reading my weekly posts you know what’s going on. You’ve heard about what challenges I’ve faced and read what seems to be a lot of venting (that was never my intention). So, how will this post be different?– I’d like to take the time to remind anyone thinking about being involved in Residential Life, or remind anyone who’s already a staff member, of all the little things you see in this job that affect your daily life.
These residents, if you cultivate your relationships, even if there’s mishaps with behavior, will end up being your friends. You’ll be able to joke about still stuff, ask them to help load your car (as a joke) and they’ll help, and you’ll be able to be there as their college parent for the year. You get to help them shape how they’ll see their college experience for the next four years. You get to support each other when they’re having bad days and they’ll see when you’re having a bad day.
In August I thought of my job as an authority figure. While I do wear that authoritarian hat, I also realize that I’m here to guide these 60 students, as well as the students in the rest of the residence hall and the rest of campus, through their first year of college. I’m a mentor. I’m a therapist. I’m an advisor. I’m a personal entertainer (especially when I’m sleep deprived, which happened a lot this past semester). I’m the girl with the guinea pigs that can make anyone smile. I’m their community advisor.
Until next time, world.