Mairead Kiernan and Ryan Bye are known besties in the SAC world, as they co-authored a post for #SAbeginnings as well. Naturally, we asked them to blog for #SAConnects.
How did you meet them in your work?
MK: When I accepted the GA position at Texas Tech, I was initially supposed to be the grad for Social Media. In late May, one of the in-hall grads stepped down from the position, and because I had a Res Life background, I was called and asked to step into that role. I was placed in a building with another grad and one Residence Life Coordinator, and the rest is history!
RB: The easiest way to say how we met is through our graduate assistantships. We both worked as Graduate Hall Coordinators at Texas Tech. However, the two of us being placed in the same building was the true twist of fate. I was heading into my second year of graduate school and my assistantship and had known for several months that I would be returning to work in the same residence hall I had been in. Mairead was originally hired on as one of the department’s specialty grads to work with our social media initiatives. Yet as plans changed Mairead was switched to be the other grad in our building… and to make it better we were going to live in apartments across the hall from each other!
How did this person change you?
MK: Working with Ryan everyday was like working with myself. No, really. We have 4 of our 5 top StrengthsQuest themes in common, are 1 letter off in the MBTI (I’m a P, he’s a J, and it’s a point of contention), and had the same True Colors results. There were days where we wanted to rip each other’s faces off in the office, but by 6pm we were headed to dinner together. He made me think about how I presented myself and the way I was perceived. I am so glad we worked so closely so that I could learn these lessons early in my career.
RB: She helped me become a better listener in all aspects of my life. From our countless hours spent in each other’s offices to the equally countless bottles of wine drank in each other’s apartments I learned how to be someone who truly listens and can act as a sounding board. Being the returning grad student in our complex Mairead helped me become a better teacher. This is something I use in my job every day.
What makes your connection so beautiful and why do you appreciate them so much?
MK: Ryan and I were forced to make our relationship work very quickly because about 1 month into the fall semester, our boss got extremely sick. While we were still a team of 3, our boss was out very frequently, so we essentially ran a 1,200 student complex by ourselves. We had to learn to put the personal aside and get our work done. I appreciate him for teaching me more about myself than anyone has thus far.
RB: I can call Mairead about anything & she will be honest with me. If I’m having a trying day at work or just driving in the car and want to chat with someone I know I can count on Mairead to be someone to talk to.
How did the parameters of the field impact this friendship?
MK: Even outside of Student Affairs, I think friendships are fluid. People come and go in life and I’m okay with that. Knowing that Ryan and I were only going to work together for a year, I really thought we’d be friends for that time and then move on. Thankfully, this is a field that’s about connections, and he and I have remained friends over shared work experiences and good red wine.
R: I think that this is what is awesome about our friendship – the parameters of this field are not a concern. I mean the one impact it does have is that we live in different parts of the country, but she actually gave me her new email address at her new job and hasn’t blocked my phone number yet so we’ve been able to stay in touch. One way that the “parameters” of this field have had an impact on our friendship is that we are both coincidently in similar situation. After we graduated from Texas Tech (large public) we got jobs at small private institutions of about 5,000 or less students. This has allowed us to talk about the transitions, challenges, and really awesome parts of our new jobs!
> BONUS <
Podcast with Craig Bidiman on Supporting #SAGrad Success