So… I work in a school. No, I do not get summers off but it is safe to say that summer in a college admission office is pretty low key and relaxed. But then out of nowhere, like a thief in the night…fall creeps around and BAM! Your days of being able to actually check your email between 8am and 5pm, open calendar space and sanity are gone. GONE I TELL YOU! I have been an admission counselor for 5 years now and every summer I say “I am going to do a lot of planning this summer” to ensure that when Fall comes, I am ready to rock and roll. I have failed yet again. August 1st came and I cannot even tell you what happened after that, it has been a whirl wind. Between planning my high school visits, to last minute panicked phone calls and emails from my incoming students to training all my awesome new Spartan Ambassadors- Fall happened and is happening annnnnd is kicking my royal behind. It is only Wednesday and I have already been at AU for 40 hours this week, oy vey! But no complaints here, I love this place. I love the excitement of a new school year, a fresh start. I love getting to know all my Spartan Ambassadors and taking them through tour training (even if it means I have to go on a million mock/practice tours a day with them) I love it all.
The cool thing about working in education, is that every year you get the chance to interact with new students. I will soon start to work with high school seniors through this overwhelming process called the college search and I get to know current students who are my Spartan Ambassador team. I take these roles very seriously. To these students I can be role model, somebody who is hard on them, somebody who just listens, a mentor, a friend, a light at the end of a tunnel or maybe all of the above. During our opening ceremony last week, our President gave some good advice for going into the new school year, she said:
“ Put yourself in your students’ shoes and look at the future they are facing. Prepare them for THEIR world, not yours.”
Don’t pull the old ‘when I was in school, we did this..” judgement won’t help them. Students live in a different world than we did at that age, a world with more technology, with different opportunities, different struggles and different mindsets. We must put our self in their shoes, we must inspire them with our wisdom, not our comparisons of the past.
It doesn’t matter if you are an admission counselor, a teacher, a secretary, a coach, a janitor…maybe you do not even work in a school. We all have a great opportunity to impact our students today, they are looking to us as role models (even if it may not always seem like it). I know it can be easy to fall into the trap of getting frustrated with the younger generation. But we have to accept them as they are, and help them become who they want to be. I will be the first to tell you how insane my students make me when they just don’t show up for meetings or appointments or are acting irresponsible. But just remember, we were all there. You were not perfect either. At some point, somebody, whether it be a parent, teacher or a mentor sat us down and said listen, if this is what you want…this is how you go after it. Somebody or something inspired us to pursue a certain path. Be that person to your students. Don’t be turned off if they seem uninterested, trust is earned. They need our guidance, our ears, our wisdom, or sometimes they just need somebody to tell them it’s going to be okay and to give them a little push.
Students need us now more than ever, I don’t know about you but I am up for the challenge 🙂