I always find it difficult to talk about subjects, views, and topics that I have limited experience with. In the past few weeks, I have been participating in a few of the #SAchats and have viewed conversations that student affairs professionals have had on other social media platforms. As a graduate student, I struggled to read and make sense of views that I may not agree with. The chats also remind me that I still have much to learn while I still have a lot to contribute.
The good thing about being at this point in my journey is that all my experiences have led me to believe that what I see is what I get. During the chat about positivity in the workplace, I initially began to think about my experiences and the many stories that I have heard from peers, supervisors, and advisors.
I am going to ruin some people’s days by stating this… I know it ruined mine when I learned this for the first time: Student Affairs is not all sunshine, rainbows, flowers, and candy. I am so sorry. However it is true; while many roles in student affairs consist of the actions that makes the sunshine and the rainbow stand out, there are just as many roles that makes sure that the field stays afloat and there isn’t much room for rainbows and sunshine to make that happen. My final thought tweet (which was grammatically incorrect and I am cringing just reading it) reads:
Missing words and grammar aside, positivity in the workplace exists in different aspects. We all need to consider the different kind of people who enter the field and work in different areas. In stating this, what comes to mind for me is the relationship between the emotional energy and behavioral energy and how that visually looks to others. I have encountered professionals and graduate students who do tasks with smiles on their faces, a vocabulary that envies that of a care bear, and a demonstrated representation of all things positive in student affairs. While this may not be them all the time, their professional reputation is often associated with being the happy-go-lucky person in the office. I also know others who come into work every day ready to get things done. These people may not even crack a smile the entire day, however, they still feel good about their job and still absorb all that they accomplished and the positive effects they left on students.
Do we shame those who do not show their positivity?
Do we shame those who we perceive as showing too much positivity?
#SAPositivity is really a double-edged sword when you think about it because as much as we strive to meet somewhere in the middle, based on whoever is the judge, it is either positive or negative. I am slowly starting to realize that there are multiple dispositions within the field of student affairs. While this realization has affected my views, it has not shattered the overall purpose of the field. Rather, it has made room for professionals to express their positivity in whatever way suits them while providing proper service to their institutions and its stakeholders.