When’s the last time you walked outside in the midst of Orientation/Welcome Week and just observed the madness behind the method of starting up the school year?
Watching that Mother try to sneak the tissue our of her purse to wipe away a tear before her student sees it.
The Dad eying the other males in the building up and down as he puts the massive pink hamper and pink comforter on his daughter’s bed.
The siblings holding a folder that announces who they belong to, shouting out, “Hurry up! This thing says you have to meet the President in 5 minutes at the Auditorium!”
The Orientation Leaders smiling and running around on minimal hours of sleep and not wanting it any other way.
The Residence Life staff handing out keys, answering questions, and responding to roommate conflicts exactly 40 minutes into the operation.
The campus custodial staff, quietly, and unnoticed, emptying trashes, and maintaining a bright and shiny veneer of campus on day 1. They go along with the campus grounds staff who sit in the shade and watch their perfectly manicured lawns, mulch, and walk ways get trampled by the egress of 400 anxious teenagers heading to their next session.
And then there is you. The master of your domain whether it be handing out keys, hot dogs, t-shirts, lanyards, folders, name tags, hugs, or handshakes. You own your responsibility, you watch others do take charge of theirs. Whether you are a cog in the machine, or the operator of the machine take a step back and watch the production that you get to play a part in.
Realize the act of the welcoming hundreds to thousands of new members of your community. Reflect on how you may become part of their story while they are learning at your institution.
Orientation/Welcome week is a busy time in student affairs. Don’t let it pass you by without having a moment in the middle of the madness to realize the value in what is it that you do, and are doing in that moment.
I ask again…
Do you practice reflection? The art of stopping and smelling the roses? The action of not doing anything else in a moment but living in that moment?
Try it right now. It doesn’t take long. In fact, it can be as short or as long as an experience that you want.
Take a deep breath. Shut your monitor off. Go outside. Walk outside and don’t look at your watch, phone, or the ground. Look up. Listen to the birds (or the stampede of new students heading your way). Feel the wind and the sun. Realize what it is you do that will make an impact on your campus community and those within it.
That’s my idea for the day – and I say it CAN happen.