We’ve all heard that quote that has been (mis)attributed to Ghandi. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s lofty – and easily used by those who would like to believe they are making a difference. But at the end of the day, they’re just words. What are these people actually doing to make a change? To be that change they want so badly to be?
What are we doing to make a change?
In the world of higher education we pride ourselves on being change agents. We embrace change and understand that it is a fundamental part of keeping up with what our students need. Change is what keeps us relevant. However, when we work in jobs that sometimes have us working until 9 or 10 at night, or have us working weekends; sometimes we would rather go home and watch the next episode of the Chopped marathon rather than take extra time to sit in our offices to figure out what we could be doing better for our students. I am guilty of this, and have spent many hours in my apartment after work watching Chopped marathons or whatever other food competition show happens to be on that evening. I get it. We all get it. But that leads us down a dark and slippery slope where no evolution happens because we are either too tired or too busy to be the person to start that conversation. Change becomes this huge grandiose thing that cannot be achieved because there is simply too much going on. There isn’t time to do our jobs, maintain relationships, and still have time for ourselves. Then we hope that someone else will start the conversation. Instead, we get stuck in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality because that’s the easiest thing to do after a long week of work. We get tired and we know that the system we have will keep on turning for the time being. We take the easy way out, and we are all guilty of this. We forget that if we never start the conversation, then it has the possibility to never happen.
Sometimes, we have to be the one to take that leap.
Every change that happens is a result of someone, somewhere, starting a conversation. Even if it’s as simple as pulling a staff member or student into your office and asking them “hey, what do you think about this?” and then listening to their response keenly to see what bits of knowledge and insight you can garner from it. Just simply starting that conversation is a huge step towards a larger goal. The system itself or the process as a whole might not be broken, but it can always be improved upon. We work in such a dynamic field, in roles that really allow us to change with the times. We work in positions where if a change doesn’t work we can immediately go back to the drawing board and try again. We try, we assess, and we try again. We have to be the ones to push for that conversation to start. If we don’t, then who will? If the answer to that question is “no one,” then the answer should be “you.”
After all, it only takes one small pebble to start a wave. I’m going to start some waves. Will you?
> BONUS <
Podcast With Sue Caulfield on “Suedles”, Creativity, & Learning Styles