Every item in my office has a specific purpose or meaning, from the art on the walls down to the pens in the sparkly pink cup. I think it’s important that the things in my office show students a little bit of my personality and make me feel comfortable while I’m at work. I’ve only been at Viterbo for 6 months, but I began bringing in odds and ends on the very first day. I also moved to a new city for this position and was fortunate enough to have a little more space for my crafts, so much of my decor is handmade.
Here is my desk:
Having a neat and tidy space is important to me; I have a hard time working in clutter. There are several different calendars on display, including my Green Bay Packer monthly calendar, my entire summer on one page, my weekly Outlook calendar (color-coded, of course) and a summer projects list, broken down into tasks. I made the bulletin boards, which hold reminders for class scheduling and other notes. I also made the chalkboard, which features events and programs during the semester. Now that it’s summer, it displays a reminder to myself: Stay positive, work hard, and make it happen!
On the left is a fun vase my mom helped me put together with light-up branches. The note cube was a going-away gift from a previous institution and I have a “fidget” from the counseling center for students who need to keep their hands busy while chatting. I’m planning on making a zen garden soon too. Kleenexes are an important fixture in my office, as I want students to feel comfortable enough to open up about the things that are getting in the way of their success.
In the center you’ll see my to do list and a little mesh container to hold the things I need handy (chapstick, sticky notes, and my cell phone). On the right I have photos of my family, a diffuser that smells like apple pie, and a sun lamp for the rainy days. There’s also a little sign that says “Keep your troubles in a pocket with a hole in it,” which was given to me by a dear friend as a graduation gift.
The other prominent fixture in my office is my bookshelf:
On top is a collection of magnets from my study abroad in undergrad. I bought a magnet from each place I visited – inexpensive and easy to pack! Next to that is a shadow box with my three tassels – high school, college, and graduate school. My diplomas are next, with a Dr. Seuss quote from my hall director in undergrad. The second shelf is probably my favorite. These are souvenirs from my two trips abroad – one to England in undergrad and one to India in grad school. The next shelf holds brochures and resources for students, which I use regularly. The last three shelves are full of books and resource binders from graduate school and beyond. I also have some coloring supplies, which I’m hoping students will use if they need to de-stress.
A big comfy chair completes my office. This chair helps students feel comfortable and it’s positioned so that we face each other without a barrier between us. I spent my first week in this office with the desk between me and students and it just wasn’t working. Granted, I have my back to the door this way, but it leads to deeper connections with students, in my opinion. Plus, I can look out the windows while I’m working!
I think my office will always be a work in progress. I’m currently making a rug to brighten up the dingy carpet and will be bringing in some artwork for the other walls soon. Since this photo was taken, I’ve brought in a few momentos from my previous institutions as well as the rest of my magnet collection.
This post is part of last month’s #DeskDiaries series. Check out the rest here!