Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Starting 2014 With Reflection

I'm Back!

It has been a while, friends. I didn't intend to take such a long break from writing. I knew it was time to begin again when everywhere I looked was something that promoted the thought, "I should write a piece about that for my blog."

January 6th was my anniversary of working at USD as a full time staff member. As I start what will be my 19th year, I have spent some time thinking about those that I have had the privilege of working with over all of these years. Some of these memories are of staff, some of students. All of people who have impacted me and made me a better professional, a better person. There is a beauty in being somewhere so long. A beauty in having lived the history of this fraternity and sorority community. A humbling time of realizing how much I didn't know when Carol hired me all those years ago, and knowing how much more there is to learn in 2014.

As we begin the New Year, I offer to you a few snapshots of my 18 years, and the lessons I have learned and re-learned.

A fraternity president who fought me every day of his tenure. Lied, yelled, deceived. And, then, called me about 5 years after his graduation to tell me that he was sorry. It's never too late to do the right thing.

A graduate assistant who jumped in with both feet with only her USD undergraduate experience. She and I together attended fraternity recruitment events so we could "understand". She stood by my side when the manager of a venue met us at the door of an event and asked if we were the strippers. My first 2 years would have been my last without her resilience, laughter, and perspective. Work is always better with a partner.

An IFC President that returned from UIFI and told me that he understood and was going to change his chapter. And, that he wanted my help. "It takes a village." is the only approach that will develop students into the best version of themselves.

A powerhouse president sitting on my couch and unexpectedly crying because she missed her mom. Knowing that all she needed to hear was, "me, too" and have me sit with her in her grief. Even a powerhouse needs support.

Multiple former presidents, IFC/Panhellenic Exec, and student leaders coming back to USD
to advise. We give back to what we love.

Watching college sweethearts get married. Sitting in the lasting joy that started as giggles and notes at UGA. You never know when something amazing will happen.

A Council officer that struggled with who they really were. The realization and gentle nudges to explore why they were over-involved, "having" to succeed, over-drinking. Watching them wholly realize who they were and embrace themselves, find a partner, find contentment. There is often more at play than we ever get to see in the moment.

Two colleagues who knew I was I at capacity stepping in to support our community and attend the Greek Retreat when they knew I couldn't. Blind service with no preparation, but done with selflessness. We all need help. None of us are alone.

A Panhellenic President who advocated and networked for USD to add a culturally based sorority. Seeing persistence and work for the simple reason that it was the right thing to do. Change often comes with great struggle and challenge.

Several that have been a part of my life going to to create and serve communities of their own. Watching them develop and find their style as they realize that few places are like USD. There's no place like home.

A small group of alumni gathered at the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Annual Meeting this past December. As I sat and listened to them reminisce and re-tell stories, I was reminded of the greatest lesson of all: It is an honor to walk through life with people as they learn and grow.

Cheers to 2014!

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