I meet with a lot of students in my job, and it can be difficult to know whether or not I am making a difference. It can be frustrating because I work a lot, and the longer I’m in this field (and in my current position) I see students making the same mistakes repeatedly (both as individuals and in the aggregate). It can be draining and contribute to feeling burnt out.
Yesterday was an instance that reaffirmed that I am in the right place and making a difference. It was a conduct meeting with a student for noise, and there wasn’t anything particularly notable about the incident. I know the student well from previous conduct incidents, but he is also a leader in a campus group and well-liked in his residence hall. He’s the type of student who contributes to the community, but sometimes gets carried away. He’s growing a lot.
During this meeting, the student was frustrated that one of his neighbors called the RA about the noise instead of knocking at the door. I asked the student why he thought this was the case, and initially he was just upset and expressed that the anonymous individual who called the RA was a coward. I challenged him a little bit, and hoped to uncover what else might be going on. He then sheepishly admitted that maybe the resident who called the RA could have felt left out, or maybe the noisy room was a bit intimidating for someone to confront if they didn’t know him well. I could see the lightbulb flashing over his head, and I thought: “This is why I work in student affairs.”
What’s your most recent “aha!” moment with a student?