One of the things I truly enjoy about being an entry level professional is that I am close in age to the students and can almost function as a bridge between the students and the upper level administration. There was one day last year in which I was speaking with a student about a policy that had been implemented that students were not happy about. I understood but I told them where the administration was coming from. The student I was speaking with understood and eventually we reached the conclusion that the policy itself is fair but it could have been implemented differently.
During a recent training session, several campus officers were telling some of the more…interesting…things that they have responded to in the past few years. I sat there shaking my head at how STUPID some of the students from these stories were. A sudden realization hit me. Was I getting old? My suspicions were confirmed the next day. Some of the RAs were going over duty protocol and talking about responding to incidents. For a moment there, I thought that students listened to their RAs and followed the rules in the building. I completely forgot about the evenings I spent sneaking cheap beer into my dorm via backpacks and laundry baskets my freshman year. Oops.
I was joking with friends that being a grown up is knowing what the right decision is but making the wrong one anyway. And that’s how it is in my personal life. I have a terrible diet, I don’t exercise enough, I spend too much money, my apartment is a mess, my love life is worse…I could go on and on. But at work, I HAVE to make the right decision. I have to act like a professional around my students. I have to tell them to do the right thing.
One of the hardest things I had to do recently was hand out some hard sanctions to a fraternity that broke a lot of rules. I remember being a student and hating the administration anytime they punished one of my fellow Greeks. Heck, even as an alum I was livid when an organization was kicked off my undergrad’s campus. So I see that. I know how much it sucks. But at the same time, my job is to “enforce” the rules that the school puts out there. If I were to put grown up me and student me in a room together, grown up me would have to yell at student me for A LOT of stupid stuff.
What are some of the harder decisions you’ve had to make at work? Do you ever feel hypocritical?