One of my favorite bloggers, Carly aka The College Prepster, has done a few posts describing a normal day in her life. Carly and I have a few things in common – we’re both working our first “big girl” jobs, we’re both incredibly organized, and we both probably have the same life motto of “if it’s not moving, monogram it!”.
Unlike Carly, my days as a student affairs professional are hardly ever “normal”. Every single day brings something new and exciting…or redundant and frustrating. You’ve all been there, right? So, I guess I will try to describe a “normal” day. Maybe I’ll just write about today.
I wake up in the morning
feeling like P. Diddy to an incredibly catchy pop song playing from my phone. My intent was that if I woke up to an awesome song, I would just want to get right up and dance. False. I usually hit the snooze button two or three times. This is rather daring, seeing as I set my alarm for thirty minutes before I need to be at my desk. If I manage to get up in one of the first two alarms, I usually sit in bed with my iPad reading email and the news. Finally, I’ll drag my butt out of bed and realize I have about seven minutes to turn myself into a functioning human being and be at a desk on the complete other side of campus. This means my outfits are thrown together and thanks to Pinterest, the sock bun is my best friend.
Go to Work
By some miracle, I manage to make it to work on time and still be the first person in the office. The first thing I HAVE to do when I get to work is make a to do list and double check my calendar for the day. Since college students are nocturnal, a lot of them will have emailed me overnight to set up meetings for me for that day. Sigh. So I make my to do list and try to take advantage of the first two hours of the morning before students are awake and roaming campus.
By now, my boss has probably already popped in my office to ask me about some situation her boss called her about that I was completely unaware of. Or one of my students has come in with one crisis or another, usually along the lines of “my roommate’s boyfriend NEVER leaves our room”. Usually at this time, I will start my regular one on one student meetings or sometimes conduct meetings.
I have no set lunch time. My lunch time depends on when I have meetings during the day and when others in my office are taking lunch. Some days, I need to cram so many student meetings in and arrange them back-to-back from 10 am until 4 pm only to realize I did not schedule time for me to eat. I usually eat lunch on campus with some other wonderful student affairs professionals I know. This has done nothing to help with the problem of my constantly expanding waist line.
Back to the to do list. Or, more accurately, back to being interrupted from the things I had planned. Also, many of the organizations that I advise hold their meetings in the afternoon. This can definitely make the afternoon pass faster, but if it’s one of those rare days that I’m in my office, time moves so slooowwww.
My work day does NOT end at five. Just the other night, I had a staff meeting and a building meeting to attend. I also met with one of my student leaders and with an alumni advisor for a fraternity on campus. I usually try to give myself an hour or two between office hours and whatever evening activities I have just so I can take that time to relax. The one nice thing about working after hours is I can wear whatever I want. Hello leggings!
On most nights, I go to sleep. However, if I’m on call, I tend to spend the late night hours just waiting for the duty phone to ring and for all hell to break loose. I’ve also noticed an incredibly strange correlation over the past few months – the earlier I go to sleep, the less I want to wake up in the morning. If I go to bed later, I tend to wake up before my alarm clock. I have two theories. Either my body misses my college student lack of sleep lifestyle, or I am so afraid of accidentally sleeping in, I scare myself into waking up.
So for those of you who were trying to figure out what a “normal” day in student affairs is like, hate to break it to you, but normal does NOT exist here.