Parents aren’t supposed to have favorite kids, right? Parents love all their children equally, even if Susie is pulling straight A’s while Sally is getting busted for smoking weed behind the 7-11. It’s only in the really messed up families that a parent picks an obvious favorite (or least favorite) child.
And as a student affairs professional, I try not to have favorite students/residents/buildings/student groups/student leaders. But, just like siblings fight over this sort of thing, my students grumble about this constantly. “Why is she at that building’s event but not ours?” “How come she has a lunch meeting with him?” With the things these students know, I swear PDFM U has it’s very own Gossip Girl following me around and updating the students on my life.
Here’s the secret to how I choose which events to attend: I am a good, dedicated, overworked, entry-level student affairs professional. I also have no life. SO. If you invite me to something and I have the time free, I will 98% of the time be there. The students that accuse me of “never coming to anything” NEVER INVITE ME TO ANYTHING. Or…on a slightly more annoying note, the thing the students invite me to is something that as a professional, I CANNOT attend.
Remember back in college, everybody joked about this triangle?
Well, that triangle still exists except the labels have changed – they are now me, students, and booze. You can still only pick two. If there are students and booze, I cannot be there. If there is me and booze, there sure as hell better not be students there. If there are students but no booze, I can be there. Maybe I should make a flowchart with this and distribute it to my students so they know what sort of events to invite me to…
I feel like I’ve mentioned it before, but in my almost one year here at PDFM U, there are some students who have gone out of their way to get to know me. I really appreciate that. They are the ones who have helped me the most and really let me know what’s going on at this school. Students out there – if you want to get to know a campus administrator better, you have to reach out! It’s a two way street. I know there are some people out there who set some very strict boundaries and won’t talk about anything personal unless it’s a work-related issue, but most of us do open up a bit.
Have you ever had to deal with this before? How do you handle students that accuse you of favoring one group over theirs?