Sunday, October 9, 2011

Learning

I have had to learn not to mutter "I hate my job" in front of my G.A. I think that sometimes it is traumatizing to her. I mean, you know when I'm coaching her on how to get into the profession and how wonderful her career will be when she gets here it is sometimes awkward. I don't hate my job per se, but there are just some days when the idiotic nature of the bureaucracy or the sheer wonton stupidity of a student is overwhelming. (How does this "mail" and "stamp" thing work?) My poor traumatized G.A. It will get better, I promise her. The RA's won't ALWAYS hate you and some day they will be somewhat grateful, but not yet, not today. Little do her bitter angry RA's know she's actually the NICE one, the meanness of job action and documentation comes from my puppet strings. Oh well. To my G.A., I promise a rewarding and fun filled career in the profession you have big dreams pertaining. To my other G.A. who is not going into Student Affairs…I'm sure your life in Social Work will be rewarding as well…if not miserable, more depressing, and filled with disappointment but with a younger generation.

My co-workers and I have a motto at our job. "Yes, it can always get worse." I always keep that in the back of my mind. There is no golden ticket to a land where it's perfect, I promise that to all professionals. Yet, there are places where there is a better "fit". I found a much better fit a year ago, that is why some of the elements are more amusing because the entirety of my life is not wrapped up in the work. The university still gets 50 hours of my 40 hour work week, but there is more balance, more hope, and more focus. Even if there is a significant amount of misery in transition and stupidity.

I think that I have encountered more mental health issues this past year than I have ever encountered before. There comes a point in your professional career where you realize you can't fix crazy. Sure, calling a kid "crazy" isn't the most professional thing, but we all say it in our heads. It's okay, try saying it out loud. Sure, your supervisor might get pissed, but it reminds them that you're not a counselor. I'm not a counselor. I don't have a counseling degree and I do not want one. I don't want to deal with crazy kids all the time. And it's not fun "crazy", but the vacant stare possibly will kill themselves or someone else at some point crazy. My mom always tells me there's resources on campus for those people and I should make sure they get there…then I remember…I'm one of the resources for those people. Having a supervisor telling me to "check-in" on one of these student's still doesn't negate the fact….they're crazy and in that bad way.

I laugh because the paragraph before, some people read it and go "my God, help them, you're a horrible person! Tell someone, tell the counselors!" To that audience, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. To the others who read it and go…"yeah, there's nothing you can do…" You understand, you know, there's that look that some students have. It's different from other students, it's a smell sometimes too, maybe the way that they respond to questions. It's different and it's not just the normal depressed student, or the angry student, or the drunk student….it's that special student who you know, given the chance, they could set the whole college on fire. Yet, they have their rights….and they have lit the match, but haven't done anything illegal with it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wet Vac’ing

It was only a matter of two days later…when I found myself on the 17th floor Wet Vac'ing. Luckily the student's had yet to move in, but my staff was in the building. Explain to me why I walk up thirty minutes after the leak started and there are three RA's, two night security officers, and four police officers pointing to the celling saying "yup, it's the sprinklers, nothing we can do." Mind you, the water was coming from the smoke detector, not the sprinkler head.

Thank goodness for my superior intellect where I pointed out that there was a laundry room upstairs and asked if they had perchance gone up the stairs and looked at the floor above. The statement must have been too logical for them to comprehend; they all looked at me like I had grown a second head. As we went upstairs we could hear the water GUSHING from the washers.

Again, I must remind you that I am with emergency response personnel who just stared at the washer gushing. At this point there was about three inches of water on the floor and it continued to gush. As they stood there screaming "calling facilities for them to shut off the water" I walked over and opened the washer lid and it stopped its cycle, thus stopping the flooding. My assumption is that they are all so preoccupied with saving lives that an understanding of washing machines must elude them. I felt it was an appropriate punishment to leave my staff behind after I showed them how to wet vac. Ah, I'm so fortunate that the opportunity arose during RA training so that they can have that skill early on.

The other most recent moment of pure awesome had to do with bystander behavior. I watched as all my co-workers went downstairs to a going away party for a co-worker. I was walking up late, carrying two armfuls of boxes, whereupon I see a male and female couple SCREAMING at one another. It was somewhat stereotypical surreal as the boyfriend was wearing a wife beater with massive bulging muscle arms. However, I continued walking up and they screamed for about the five minutes it took me to finally get to them. They were located DIRECTLY outside of the room with the going away party. In fact, the office had glass windows. As I walked up and stepped in between the feuding couple two of my co-workers rushed out to see if I needed help.

Honestly? We could have had us some serious beat down time, but no one seemed to terribly concerned until I stepped in between the two. I just don't understand how someone could overlook screaming people outside of your window as you're throwing a party. The last time I checked rooms full of professionals are supposed to be interventionists, you know, confronting behavior when they see it. However, some farewell cake seems to void this action step from my co-workers.

One week down.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I went to school for this?

The summer tradition of trying to do twenty-five years of upkeep in three months has just ended for me. After enduring periods of no hot water, scalding hot water, no air conditioning, banging at seven a.m. and fire alarms, I am now faced with opening a building missing twenty doors to student rooms. It just baffles me that year after year the lesson is never learned. I also don't have locks on some of the doors that are up, but whatever, the student can just sit in their room waiting a few days for a lock. I'm okay with it. Never mind the whole community bathroom thing. Our locksmith is working as fast as he can. Granted, he has one arm and is legally blind. However, he does maneuver quite quickly. I guess I'd rather him that the alcoholic locksmith at the last school. That one wore loud Hawaiian shirts.

The project manager for the renovation was sad yesterday. Explaining to me that she was up at 2 a.m. vacuuming the hallways and getting a lesson in humility as all my lazy staff members watched her bust her ass. Something she said resonated with me. "I went to college for four years to vacuum hallways?" My immediate thought was "Yes, to use a Wet Vac you need at least a six year degree." That's right; my M.Ed is actually an online certificate of appreciation in Wet Vac'ing skills. I can Wet Vac like no other, in the cold, in the heat, in the middle of the night. I am there. I even have my little technique of hiking up my PJ's and wearing my no-slip Addias flip-flops. Hell, I've even pulled in my loved ones and family members and forced them to Wet Vac with me.

My student's now don't believe that I know how to Wet Vac. I refuse to do it any more, well…now that I'm in a position of authority. I mean, I did some Wet Vac'ing about a year ago, but it was only because there was dire need and the student staff was allowing himself to get hit in the face with the a powerful stream of water to prevent me from getting wet. However, I recall Wet Vac'ing showers, other HD's apartments, and a laundry room that would flood anytime anyone used washer #6. I guess the more logical thing would have been to ensure that the sign always stayed on it…but I digress.

Let the children bemoan me. I did my time; I have nothing to prove to them! I even wet vac'ed after my co-worker's apartment pipes burst. Sprinting the 45 yards to her apartment I grabbed her illegally stashed dog and ran across my own lobby dripping wet. To this day I can only hope that the night security saw me running with a 45 lb Mastif Puppy across my own lobby. However, after that puppy was happily shoved in my bathroom I went right back and wet vac'ed scalding hot water when it was 20 degrees in that apartment. That's right, I'm a trooper.

Four years of higher education earns you the right vacuum the hallway, but six years of a higher education allows you the opportunity to operate the heavy machinery.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Opening

It seems to happen year after year, the summer is quickly upon us after a fleeting school year. Okay, maybe it's just me. May always seems to drag onward and then August starts running full force in early June. July is non-existent and then here I am, year after year, looking August on head first.

One would think that after seven years I would have learned by now. I had one slightly productive summer in May where I remembered the year before that August appeared very soon. I spent all of May copying my duty logs, making binders, re-purchasing supplies for my RA boxes. I remember everyone mocked me, thought I was an idiot. Come August it was wonderful.

…I don't know why I forgot about that process. I think it's because every May now I do my best to scream "Don't let the door hit you on your way out!", do my damage billing and then hop in the car to head south. Or actually ANYWHERE, as long as it's away from there or here, as long it's SOMEWHERE. God knows, I just sit around waiting for them to leave.

I don't understand though, how is it, year after year, month after month, thousands of reminders via e-mail, text messaging, signs, letters to their parents, etc. that student's still do not know when move out is. It baffles me. I can tell you today when move-out is in next May. I just don't understand.

Anyway, so where am I? A week out from training…asking myself if the RA's really need supplies to open. ...or even bulletin board materials. I mean, can't they just do a damn bored with butcher paper? Be creative, use the student newspaper, toilet paper, just don't give me that line of…there's no paper. There's plenty of paper! Idiots! They just prefer to use a whole sheet of construction paper for one letter of the alphabet instead of shoving Hernandez-Smith onto one sheet.

Then it's always…I can't do my door dec's without names! Whatever. Just make up student's names, they'll appreciate the game and I honestly wouldn't know better as an RD.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

No, I don’t have any resources for you.

For a profession that prides itself on being on the cutting edge of student services, it does very little to establish its own super-neato resources.

In doing a quick domain search for resources I found that "halldirector.com" was currently available for purchase at a very significant price.

However, being the refined, educated, seasoned professional that I am, I realized that I should add "residence" to URL and see what magical resources pop-up.

None. Zero. Nadda. In fact, being as refined as the profession is, ripe with competition over domain names I found that the URL www.residencehalldirectors.com was dirt cheap. So cheap in fact I decided to claim it as my own. Trust me; it is not a long term investment, but rather me just getting bored one night wanting to claim it. It's not for money and it's not to provide other professionals with useful resources. I mean, if in ten years someone wants the URL and offers me a ton of money, sure. However, we're all in education so it's fairly doubtful that anything will materialize with that dream.

Go someplace else for your programming resources, ice breaker, and door decs. I promise, I have none of that to give you.