I have a lot of friends in student affairs. This makes planning social gatherings extremely hard. Some were in my grad school program, others I met during conferences, and I even have a bunch of friends that I went to school with who wound up in student affairs by chance. I feel lucky that I have friends that understand what I do outside my workplace.
Sometimes I use my friends as resources. I’ll ask them a question that I feel stupid asking my boss or I’ll see if they’ve ever handled a situation that I’ve never seen before. Sometimes I vent to my friends. They understand that while I LOVE working with students…there are just some students that…ugh…you understand, right?
Recently, I had a friend who’s resident attempted suicide. Before I go any further, yes, she is okay now (physically at least, I don’t know her mental state). Nobody wants to get a phone call with bad news on the other end. My friend has had a relatively quiet few years in Residence Life, so this was a first for him. Unfortunately, this is something that has happened to me before. Both of our situations were creepily similar. Both events happened when we were on vacation so I felt bad that my RAs weren’t able to seek me out during the situation, he was upset that he wasn’t able answer his door when residents knocked. He felt responsible, as if the entire situation could have been avoided if he had just stayed home. I was able to tell him that it’s not the end of the world and his resident did not purposely do this because she knew he was on vacation.
I know that I can’t constantly run around sharing all the details of every situation with everybody I know, but I truly appreciate having friends in so many areas of student affairs and at different levels! I know that I am never alone when handling a situation so thanks for all that you do.