I once heard that your physical environment is a representation of your mind.
If that’s true, then I’d say this picture is pretty accurate.
Because – full disclosure – I am overwhelmed and ready for this year to be over.
You see, I began this academic year in a new position. I traded the cornfields of Iowa for the mountains of East Tennessee. Moving not only brought me warmer weather (sorry, Iowa, but you were just a little too chilly for this Florida girl), but a wonderful opportunity to grow and gain more experience as a career development professional. I’m not new to Student Affairs, but with any new position, there’s a learning curve. And boy, what a steep learning curve it has been!
This whole year, I never seemed to make it through the piles on my desk. As soon as one assignment finished, I had another one to take its place. Add to that missing my friends and wanting to see my family…*sigh*…it got harder to drum up any enthusiasm to get my work done. I’ll admit it – I felt discouraged and not sure I would get the hang of, well, anything. Yea yea, I knew that wasn’t really true, but knowing and feeling are often two different beasts. Something had to give.
Then I read a scripture that said, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). I couldn’t necessarily change anything about my workload (I was working as hard as I could!), BUT I could change how I thought about it. Don’t get me wrong, I still felt (and definitely feel) overwhelmed with all of the last-minute student appointments and flagged emails overtaking my Outlook account. Yet, small changes in my work environment – like putting up encouraging quotes, self-care tactics, even pictures of my friends & family – really helped shift my perspective to a more positive one.
Whatever you tell your mind, it will believe. So I chose to feed it hope, truth, and love. I found that as I got on board with sprucing up my work space, my coworkers and even my students began to take notice, and incorporate some of the same things for themselves.
For you, it might be music…then play some. If it’s a quote that does it for you, post one on your computer. If you need camaraderie, don’t be afraid to seek it out in friends or coworkers.
If you’re feeling this way, remember you’re not alone.
Life may be a cluttered inbox at the moment, but it won’t always be like that.
You got this.
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.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Patrick Love on Strategic Planning in SA