When I look at my desk these days I barely recognize it. Why? My old desk barely ever remained this clean and organized.
Just a mere three months ago I worked at Bergen Community College in North Jersey and my desk was in constant disarray. There were always papers everywhere. Post-ts everywhere. The desk reflected the chaos that often consumed my day. But here at Rutgers University New Brunswick, it seems my desk reflects the current organization that has come into my daily work. But certain elements of my desk remain the same from my days at Bergen. Enter Robin.
My previous colleague, Greg, became my “partner in crime”. I am glad to say that Bergen brought us together and we remain best friends. He is Batman and I am Robin. No matter where we both end up working that will remain the same and so Robin is always in close proximity to me on my desk. He will forever be on my work desk no matter how far Batman and Robin really are from each other.
Other elements that remain the same are my constant piles of post it notes. All my “to-do” lists are written on these post-it notes and I go through post-it notes like candy. I guess it’s better than the days that I wrote things on my hand to remember them. At least now I don’t have ink all over my hands. I make it a point to try and clean up the post-it notes every week or so.
The rest of my desk is covered by gifts from my students. When I have bad days I look at those gifts and cards because they remind me why I do the work I do. Those gifts keep me humbled and grounded. And so those gifts will forever remain on my desk no matter where I work as well.
The second picture is of the second “desk” in my office. I say second desk even if it does not have my computer on it because it has pictures of all my students, co-workers and friends. People like Nestor Melendez who I am proud to call a friend, a mentor, and a colleague. These faces remind me to keep fighting the good fight and surround me with the people I love the most. Even behind my two computer screens, which keep me efficient in my work, I have pictures of my students and colleagues. I figure if they are all around me, I’ll feel like they are with me at all times.
So what’s my key to success with my work desk? Balance professional with personal. These pictures and gifts become conversation points with colleagues and students too and help break the ice sometimes. Plus, people are able to get to know me outside of my title of “Title IX Investigator,” which can be intimidating and cold at times, and suddenly I seem like just another person who loves The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. These human touches are necessary and help create the atmosphere I want in my office, i.e. mi casa es su casa.
This post is part of our #DeskDiaries series, which aims to take a fun look at the diverse sets of work spaces that student affairs professionals have at the end of the year. Whether you can’t even see your computer, or your desk finally organized, we want to discover the nature of our field one desk at a time. For more information, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series.