Friday, August 31, 2012

August always makes me wonder why I do this job.  Every year I swear that August in higher ed might not be worth it.  This is especially true of Res Life in New York City.

It's always something.

For years, I did leadership retreats and new student orientations and opening days and managed to put together a syllabus.  (Side note: who decided it was a good idea to let me teach classes?)  I thought August was always a little hectic.  Then I moved to New York and started working in Res Life.  (Other side note: why didn't any of my Res Life friends tell me?)  And people, you just would not believe the stuff that happens in these residence halls in this quiet little corner of the Upper West Side.  Of course, I can never blog about any of those stories.  But buy me a cupcake or something and maybe we can talk.

So anyways...August.

Last August, after living in New York for all of three weeks, there was an earthquake and major hurricane all in one week.  That one week happened to be RA training and student move-in.  Now, being an Okie who loves storms and thunder (the kind from the sky and the kind with a basketball) and natural disasters, I can look back and say that the hurricane was absolutely one of the most fun things about my first year living in New York.  But still, it made for an interesting twist on an already insane time of the year.

So of course, there was this August.  Unrelated to my job, I had that not-so-minor certification exam business to conquer.  No big deal.  I started training the next day to prepare for a new academic year.  All in all, work has been really great since I returned and I truly love the people I get to work with everyday.  But still...RA training rolled around and there was a fire in my building.  And then the day new student orientation programs started a few days later, a first year student took her life on campus, sending shock waves through the whole Columbia community.  We had spent the weeks prior talking as a professional staff and with our student staff about how to respond to mental health issues and potential suicide threats.  I spent a good part of this week helping my RA staff understand and process this tragedy and think about how to help their residents.  Move-in starts tomorrow.  Yikesabee.

And yes, I love higher ed and mark my professional life by those rare, sometimes too few-and-far-between instances when I feel like it actually matters. (Not that ice cream socials and room checks don't matter, but you know.)  And I can say with confidence that this was my last August in Res Life.  I am too old for this business people...although I'm sure I have a lifetime of crazy Augusts left to experience.  Who knows where I'll be living and working and etc. next August...suggestions, anyone?

All I'm saying is that September and quieter days cannot come fast enough.  September always was my favorite month...and there is definitely a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

And besides, don't you just love New York in the fall?

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