My junior year of college was in every possible way, the best of times and the worst of times. I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of all possible lows. This was a year of change for me in almost every way. Mentors were moving on to different universities, school was getting tougher, and the many organizations I was a part of were all competing over who could kill me the fastest, at least that’s how it seemed.
Enter Andrea Allan. She was the one unchanging, solid, stable, fixed point I had in my life, and I could not be more thankful for that. She helped me get through the toughest points in my life, and helped me celebrate the greatest. She was my mentor, my friend, and then eventually, my boss. But above all of these, she was my Jack Donaghey.
I will never forget the day that I walked into Andrea’s office and asked her to be my Jack Donaghey. I was a rambunctious sophomore student leader who took on way too many responsibilities and she was a brand new Hall Director who had no idea what she was getting herself into. I tried to warn her of my many faults and told her this would be no easy position, but she was undaunted and agreed. She was now my Jack, and I was her Liz. (If you are lost at this point I recommend watching the entirety of “30 Rock”, go, it’s worth it).
I am thankful everyday of my life that I found someone who cared so deeply about me when I did because the next year of my life would have been impossible without her. In student affairs, people move, a lot. My junior year, three of my closest mentors left in the span of about two months. I was devastated, and then on top of that, I had the worst February of my life. It was and is still the darkest moment of my life.
The most poignant moment from that February and the only part that I willingly remember was the drive to No Frills 2013. It was in this moment that I realized Andrea would always be there for me. She cared so deeply about me and helped put me on the path of success and stability. On that drive, we laughed, we cried, we sang, we talked, and for a brief moment everything got better. It was exactly what I needed.
My relationship with Andrea only got stronger after that. Eventually, my senior year, she became my boss and supervisor. I was worried that this might change our dynamic and I would lose my Jack Donaghey, but I was totally wrong. If anything, this just strengthened our relationship. I mean after all, Jack was Liz’s boss. She guided me through the ups and downs of senior year, and helped me grow not only as an RA but a person. She was, is, and will always be the first person I turn to for advice.
Now, being some 600 plus miles and two states away from her is difficult, but we still talk, and I am still learning from her. No matter where either of us are at any given point, I know she will always be there for me. In this ever-changing world, she is a solid constant. She is why I am where I am and why I am considering a career in Student Affairs. She did everything a Student Affairs professional should do; she connected with me and saved me. Only one word will truly and fully express how much she means to me and how thankful I am to have her in my life, and strangely enough, Jack Donaghey and Liz Lemon sum it up best with this quote:
Jack: “It’s a word that comes to us by way of the old high German luba from the latin lubera meaning “to be pleasing”. So, I’m going to use this word to describe how I feel about you in the way that our angalosaxin forefathers would have used it in reference to say…. “hot bowl of bear meet” or “your enemies skull, split”.
Liz: “I love you too, Jack”