Recently a couple students have reassured me that this career path I chose is indeed for me and that I have been able to provide them with something that they need in order to make it through.
As I passed through the hallway the other day, Kourde told me about a class project he needed to complete. He was to write and submit a resume. Easy right? At least for a Student Affairs Professional that is. But what about to these students who have never been shown a resume before? Is it as easy for them? So I called Kourde into my office and ask him how I could help. He said, “Miss Katherine, I do not even know what a resume looks like. How am I supposed to do one?” Luckily, an SA Pro always has a resume on hand so I was able to give him an example. The following day, I asked Kourde how their assignment was going. He was excited to tell me he completed it and submitted it. Kourde went on to ask, “Miss Katherine, do you want to see it? I will pull it up on my email.”
This reminds me of when I was a student. There were times that I felt like I did not always receive the help from professors as I needed. Some classes I took had little to no guidance from professors so it was hard to judge what more I needed to do to be academically successful.
More times than not, I found myself seeking out assistance from other mentors and professionals that I knew had my success in their best interest.
They helped me get through my classes during the times I did not necessarily have my professors to count on. All in all, I knew I needed to make it one way or another so I had to find those who were able to help me- even if that meant looking outside of the classrooms and in the offices I frequently found myself spending my time in.
Excited for Kourde’s progress, I asked him if I could make some edits, which he gladly accepted. I sent the edited resume back to Kourde via email. Later that day when I was in the hallway, I let him know that I sent him an email. I heard, “Okay Miss Katherine. I will check that ASAP.” Two days passed and he stopped by and said he still needed to check his email. I called him into my office and talked about what we need to do to ensure that he is going to be successful this semester. I had Kourde pick a time that he is going to check his email every day Monday-Friday.
So I have this alarm set on my phone for 1500 Monday-Friday and every time it goes off, I send him a text that literally says, “It’s 1500 did you check your email?” I told Kourde that checking his email is the first step towards the success he wants to achieve.
As Kourde got ready to leave my office, he said, “Miss Katherine, I am going to get a 3.0 next semester. I promise you that. You can know that I will not be letting you down. I am going to keep that promise.” My response was simply; “I will hold you to it. Make that promise to yourself and I will do everything I can in order to see you follow that promise through.”
I once had a professor who told me that I was not going to make it in a PhD program. Hmmm… I thought to myself… what bold comment… Everyone else I knew was asking me when I was planning to begin my next program!!! I was baffled?! I wanted to take classes from professors that would encourage me to go farther.
Kourde began walking out of my office and came back in and said, “Miss Katherine, you really care. I have never had someone who really cared like you do who wants to make sure I make it. I really appreciate that I have you here to be that person to me.”
On graduation day, I put on my cap, zipped my gown, and walked across that stage. Just imagine the look I gave that professor as I reached for my diploma and smiled because I knew… I did it. Even without the help of some people.
I say all of this because how many times do students seek out Student Affairs Professionals because they are not getting something they need from the classroom? Many times, students come to us because they are struggling in a class or they do not know how to complete something or they just do not know exactly what to do to be successful in the class. And we find ourselves trying to find ways to help the students because we want just as much to see them succeed. Right?
I must say I had amazing friends and colleagues that supported my journey through school. They were excited for me to finish and begin a new chapter.
So at the end of the day, if I can help Kourde check his email every day at 1500, then I suppose I am playing my part in making sure he will become a better student. One day, I will be excited for him to being his new chapter.
And you can bet it is those students that we sit in the stands at graduation looking for and are so proud when they walk across that stage. When we see them smile at us, we know it is because they know they made it… with our help.
That, my friend, is all the reward an SAPro ever needs.
So to the students that remind us each day why we chose this career path, thank you.
You make our days brighter and every moment more meaningful.