There 2 things I never thought I’d do and enjoy at 27 years old:
1. Watch more than one episode of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress”
2. Sing hits from Disney’s “Frozen” at the top of my lungs in the car
I have crossed both items off my list, and it’s all because of my supervisor, Tricia Anne Arndts.
First Impressions Aren’t Everything
I couldn’t tell you how cold it was outside or what I ate that day, because I was nervous about my interview with Mount St. Mary’s University. They had an opening for an Assistant Director of Residence Life position, and offered to interview me at the February 2014 Mid-Atlantic Placement Conference in Reading, PA. Tricia was part of a two person team that interviewed me. She was poised, confident, and well spoken, but I had no idea of how I was doing. Sometimes there’s this wall up during interviews, that doesn’t allow us to get a full read on the people we’re talking to. Attribute it to professionalism, or the guard we have up when meeting new people, but something was missing and I felt distant from her. If I got the job, she’d be my boss and the Associate Director of Residence Life. After 2 rounds, I was offered an on-campus interview. I accepted. February and March didn’t slow down for yellow lights. The on-campus interview was its own whirlwind. But it was fantastic. I never felt so welcomed and wanted at an institution.
Tricia and a few of her co-workers interviewed me a final time. Again, poker face. If you told me she and I would be great friends today, I would have laughed it off and told you your jokes were hilarious. I received a call from the Mount a few days later and accepted their offer. I couldn’t wait to start my new job. Our caps hit the clouds, and we said our farewells. Graduate school was over. I packed my apartment, returned my key, and headed to Maryland.
All About It
I’ve always had a few fears when starting a new job, namely: an unethical and tyrannical boss; accidently deleting all the files off the shared drive; and not being taken seriously. I often succeed at letting these fears silence me. For some reason, I decided to take a new approach while onboarding in my Assistant Director role. Tricia was all about it. She supported me and encouraged me to hit the ground running. We had several 1:1 meetings during my first week, and she took me on a comprehensive tour of the campus. No question was a stupid question. She was welcoming, insightful, empathetic, and positive. Those interview walls were nowhere to be seen.
Fall RA Training came and went, students returned to campus, and my first semester was adventurous. Tricia would be rich if she had a dollar for every time I called her while on duty. She patiently provided advice, and I never felt dismissed. We began to hang out more outside of work, talk life, and just have fun. She invited me to her wedding, and introduced me to her family. I’ve since invited her to my upcoming summer wedding.
The Magic in Our Connections
We can try to measure life in years, but our results will always be skewed. It’s the moments we spend with others that surpass the metrics of time. The moments we share with student affairs pros we work so closely are impactful. No wonder I’ve ventured to watch ridiculous reality shows about wedding dresses, and sing Disney tunes until I lose my voice. I appreciate my supervisor and she inspires me to be better. She demonstrates the appropriate balance of being manager and a friend, while completely dedicated to my success. It all counts. Each day I feel more equip to serve our students and give back to the field.
Clearly, there’s magic when Student Affairs connects, and there’s beauty in sharing it.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Valerie Heruska on SA Professionals Role in Development Efforts