A couple weeks ago marked a year of my current position in the field of student affairs. On my first day I learned the username and password to my outlook account, which is now a part of my every day routine. The first week I learned that students love candy to where I’ll never hear the end of it when my candy dish goes empty. Through meetings, lunch hours, emails, networking, events, and trainings, this year illustrated the following phrases, “hit the ground running,” and “building the plane as we fly it.” This year showed me:
- how authenticity looks like in leadership
- that there isn’t always a time frame for transitions
- leaders can be vulnerable too
- that God will never give me more than I can handle
- why I wanted to pursue this career in the first place
I grew up in a dance studio where rehearsals ran long, stage make-up was heavy, and the sound of applause fueled my motivation each time. My dance friends accepted me more than high school ever did and I feel like it’s because they allowed me to be myself, especially during the weird teen years when I wore every trend to try and fit in like the Britney Spears school-girl outfit (not my proudest moment). One of my favorite memories was during a national dance competition where it was the first time I felt so happy that I cried. I always seen that happen in movies, but I never thought I could experience that for myself.
That kind of emotion snuck up on me a few times within the past year and when it did I held it together when I was “onstage” then cried elsewhere, like at home over pizza and wine or at a coffee shop with people who get it. Moments that triggered this feeling didn’t look like a dark audience or sound like cheers and applause. It looked like an empty room after a 12-hour orientation day or a banquet filled with students and selfie sticks. It sounds like a simple thank you or various tones of laughter from playing endless rounds of Heads Up (thank you, Ellen, for the FRIENDS category). Serving others fulfills my heart more than any florist can handle on Valentine’s Day.
People matter. Love matters.