I’ve noticed something the past few years at previous institutions I’ve worked at and I’m seeing it here once again. Eventually something clicks with the students and they start to GET IT. Depending on what area of student affairs you are in, you might see this or you might not. I don’t see it so much in ResLife except with my staff members and in that case I see it earlier than I do with my students in Greek Life. So what does GETTING IT mean? Allow me to explain.
I’m in charge of Greek Life. I essentially advise all of my institution’s fraternities and sororities. I have a feeling that most of the students in those organizations (especially my organizations that are not the best behaved) don’t like me all too much. I’m the lady that makes the rules. I also enforce them. So some students fear me, some feel the need to rebel CONSTANTLY (“She said wear a black shirt for the picture? I’M GONNA WEAR GREEN!”) These students are impossible to get in touch with. I try to set up meetings or even host an event to get to know these members better, but they just don’t care. They don’t get it. They don’t understand why there are rules in place or why they should be trying to get higher grades. And to some extent, I understand. Remember, I’m not too far removed from these students.
And then the students grow up. I see it happening mostly during senior year, but as I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve seen it earlier and later. And sometimes it doesn’t happen in college. My student leaders get it sooner, even if they only reason they start to agree with the administration’s viewpoint is so their organization doesn’t get in trouble.
Last year, I actually had a lengthy conversation about the Greek students I previously worked with about a recent policy change that they were up in arms about. It seemed like every five minutes they were making jokes or nasty comments about it. During the conversation, the students said why they didn’t like the policy. I informed them that the same policy existed for other student organizations and explained the rationale behind it. After that, the students admitted the policy made sense, but that they did not like how it was implemented with no warning. I was glad to hear that the students actually understood the policy and the majority of the anger was coming because the administration (including myself) had done something not-so-great.
Have you noticed your students starting to “get it”? (And isn’t it the best feeling?)