Those three little letters that can mean so much. ODA. Other duties as assigned. I swear this is included in every student affairs job description that I have seen. Essentially, this means your supervisor (or in some cases, their supervisor) can call you up and ask you to do something that at times can be SO ridiculous, but…ODA. So you go do whatever it is.

I’ve had to do some rather interesting “other duties”. I was working at a different institution when Hurricane Irene hit. The worst of it was over night and we were asked to do rounds to look for storm damage. Now, I’m terrified of storms to begin with and nothing freaked me out more than wandering through my nearly empty building after midnight and hearing the wind howl.

Another time, I was woken up by an RA to let me know that a resident had a cat in their room. Sounds simple, right? I told the RA to tell the student to get rid of the cat, but the student was not home at the time. I let my boss know this strange and interesting situation (there were more details) and she tells me to go remove the cat. Not only do I hate cats, but I’m allergic to them as well. Luckily, the student returned, but I still had to go out there in the middle of the night to make sure the cat was no longer in the building.

I’ve also had to act as a doorman (woman?) when the card swipes were being repaired. Students  here’s a little hint. If you see somebody acting as a doorman, that is NOT the best time to have your backpack go *clink clink clink* as you walk into the building.

As much as I pretend to hate these ODAs, they have made for some of my best stories. Remember that time a tornado tried to ruin homecoming? Well, I would have never been in charge of homecoming in the first place…but…ODA. As long as your supervisor isn’t taking advantage of you, roll with it and get excited for conferences when you can commiserate with other student affairs professionals.

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