First off, wow…I can’t believe I haven’t written a blog post for about five months. I’m pretty sure I’ve written a dozen in my head, but I guess I didn’t make the time to actually put them on “paper”. I’ll have to work on that gap…
Tonight I sat in class with one of my cohorts for two hours. It’s a practice I started early in my academic advisor role and find time to continue about once or twice a month. It’s a chance to view my students in their natural habitat, rather than just one on one. I get to see them interact, learn more about the curriculum, and be available for random questions and follow ups. Always a worthwhile experience, but also a long day each time (especially when I get caught by another student in the hallways afterwards for a 30 minute conversation).
This particular evening I sat in with one of my smaller cohorts; they started about seven months ago small and have remained about the same size. The piece that stood out tonight (and finally got me back on the blog) was witnessing an instructor who I’ve known as a friend for several years. Witnessing her lecturing, dialog inn, and really connecting with the students, I kept thinking that this person is exactly where she belongs in this world. Her strengths and passion perfectly fit the needs of these students. I kept hoping my students realized how lucky they are.
After the session and conversation, I went to the gym to survive 20 minutes on the “Stairway to Hell” and watch a bit more of Sherlock. Somewhere during the unraveling mystery, I started thinking about my own place in the world. I think there are moments when I am exactly where I need to be. Like this afternoon, I called a student who for the first 20 minutes of the conversation was so very angry about a situation I didn’t created, but had discovered. She spiraled in her anger, asking some questions more than once and not quite getting all the details straight until the third time through. But by the end of the conversation, she was still angry but we, as fellow human beings trying to make this better, were okay. She called me again later that hour, quite pleasant in tone and having already started on a solution to the issue. Yes, it had been a tough conversation. And no, I would not like to repeat that experience again. But I knew how to respond, and not because of a script but because it’s just what made sense in my heart and head. I was in my right place in the world for those 27 minutes as a venting board (which is basically a louder and more cuss word involved version of a sounding board).
I became an academic advisor almost seven years ago. And I can’t imagine that Newbie Meg would think of a conflict situation as an example of her place in the world. But it was a worthy conversation, and I think that’s what makes the difference now. There’s a plastic Disney villain on my desk who reminds me to fight worthy battles. He’s part of my goal to fight for my students, and to use my education to fight for adult students nationwide someday (I’ve got big on’ dreams my friends).
Tonight I was blessed to witness a friend inspire eight students, and in turn have new hopes for who I can inspire when I am in my right place.