Last Thursday, after yet another evening (Wednesday) where I panicked about life and whether or not this town and this program are right for me, I taught my first leadership class for the Orientation Counselors. Justin (my cohort member who is interning in Orientation this semester) and I shared our leadership stories with the class, which was surprisingly healing for me. I shared things about the story with them that I haven’t shared with everyone, and it felt amazing to show them that, no matter what or where you come from, you can be successful.
I asked them to write personal mission statements, shared with them the version of mine that I wrote in 2011 (tonight I will be finalizing my new version, ideally), and gave them some other examples. After I gave them a list of questions that I found on Gala Darling, I wandered the room while they began to work on them and started to set up one-on-one (or two-on-one, with Justin) meetings with them. I felt rejuvenated at the end of the class.
I ended up in Starbucks after class, and sat with C., one of the OCs, for about an hour. I was able to learn a lot about C., and our time together didn’t end there. We also met on Sunday for nearly two hours.
It was after that Thursday, though, that I realized why I’m here. Buddy (God) seemed to shout it at me. “These students need you, and you need them,” he said. “This is why you are here.”
Since Thursday, I’ve met with 6 other students. Each one has been willing to share parts of themselves with me, and has continued to show me that I am supposed to be with them. I am supposed to challenge them, help them grow, and learn from them.
Then, on Monday while in class, my phone lit up with a Twitter alert.
“‘the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.’ makes me think of @_mboles <3 #loveyou”
I nearly cried. It was from C., the student that fueled my realization. Buddy was shouting at me again.
“I get it,” I said back to him. “I understand now. Sorry I was impatient.”
One of the best parts about this for me is that getting to know these students has allowed me to fall in love with them. Each student that I’ve met with (and potentially the rest of them, as I’ll be meeting with them soon) has shared part of themselves with me, has trusted me with something that makes them who they are, and has sent me into a tailspin of emotion. Part of their trust in me, I hope, stems from the fact that I shared my story with them on Thursday, and that I asked each of them if they want to know anything about me. The more they trust me, I feel, the more we can teach each other.
Things won’t always be like this. I likely will not spend all of my time with students for the rest of my life. If I get to my goals of either Dean of Students, Secretary of State, or Secretary of Education, I won’t be spending much time (if any) with college students. The point, though, is that I get to be with them now. I get to teach them, challenge them, learn from them; love them now.
I’ve only had 6 one-on-ones. I’ve only taught one class period. There are around 30 students, and there are 13 more class periods. There are dinners, retreats, conferences, and any number of other things coming up. There are so many opportunities to learn, grow, and love. I’m so excited I get to be with these students. It’s going to be great.