Sunday, December 23, 2012


Fear….



There are two approaches to getting students to talk.  You can try and scare the hell out of them or you can be nice and kind to them.  I tend to lean towards fear, but as I have gotten older I have become a lot more relaxed and calm and kind.  Little do the residents know that I’m about to be a whole lot meaner to them if they steal my lounge furniture or if they are out on the roof vs. smoking dope or drinking.  I mean, I know students drink and smoke weed.  Do I agree with it or think its okay; no, it’s still against the law.  Yet, if you really want to piss me off….REALLY…REALLY want to piss me off, just take my community couch.  In your little head its “borrowing”, but years and years of my missing furniture has made me an angry person.  One time the students had a keg in their room and I would have never seen it, but they chose to hide it using one of my tables from the downstairs community room.  Here I am, focused on this table and it was not until later that I noticed that there was a keg underneath it.  Idiots, you would have been fine, but you took my table!!!!! Moral of the story; don’t steal/borrow/take furniture. 

Today the police found some of my students smoking weed on the roof.  Initially I thought that they were on the roof, but we have a suicide cage which they are allowed to be in.  When I found out they stayed in the suicide cage area, my anger went down significantly.  Poor little kids, the police told them they were being kicked out.  I watched for a little bit, but afterwards the little hooligans came to me and asked if they were going to be kicked out.  As joyous as it might be to see the fear until a conduct meeting, sometimes it’s just kinder to tell them the truth.  “No, you’re not going to get kicked out.”  Today’s rewarding measure would have to be that my little pot head angels gave me a little group hug of highness.  Albeit awkward, it was adorable.  They wiped away their little sniffles and went back on their merry way.  

It’s taken a significant amount of time (ten years), but there’s just a calm that entered me at some point.  Maybe it happened around my transition from punk music to alternative music or when I started to phase out the longing of country.  I went to the psychic recently, it was at the Ren. Fair.  The first comment she came to me was “what happened to you”?  I asked her what it is that she meant and she explained “there used to be a light shade on your head, but now…I can sense you take the light shade off others”.  I just smirked at her, but we all knew I used to have a lampshade, but part of that transition has been focusing on someone carrying furniture off rather than vomiting on my feet because they drank too much.  Perhaps I feel that small children are taught not to steal, but it takes a few years of young adult hood to determine just how much liquor an individual can hold. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Death Cab

The student's think that it is amusing to ride the elevator and ring the "emergency bell". We've had some on-going issues with our elevators, I'm not going to say that someone is going to die, but our typical response is simply "they passed inspection." When you think about it; "they passed inspection" clearly puts the responsibility on the approving agency as well as does not answer the death question. Finally, I heard the elevator bell go off as one of the elevators was on its downward trip. I was about to step in the door way of the elevator and take ID's, when some girl ran in front of me and yell at the three guys who had no idea they were about to be bombarded. The girls sat there screaming at them and informing them "you're going to fucking die and no one is going to fucking come for you, because we'll just hear the bell and ignore it!" My favorite line was about how maybe their mother did not read to them as children, but the "boy who cried wolf" should have been instilled in them by the time they were five. Although I was impressed with her proactive response to the situation, I was a bit sad that she was not culturally compassionate with regards to our large international student population.

My supervisor had a talk with me the other day about what my "next steps" in the profession are going to be. I kindly explained to him that I have a partner who has a "forever job" and I'm quite comfortable. He seemed a bit taken aback and explained, "Surely you don't want to do this for the rest of your life?" My response? …"I don't want to do it now, but it pays the bills". I then paused and reflected on that last statement and re-explained, "no, I want to do this forever". I knew that the second answer would horrify him and leave him confused. It did. I feel that he still tries to push the issue in every one to one meeting I have with him. There's an amazing realization in one's life when he/she recognizes that they have a sugar momma/daddy and what else they do is just meager fodder to the relationship. I feel that graduate programs in Student Affairs should be focusing on matchmaking and finding loved ones who are not in the profession. That to me is better than any professional ladder, requires less hours, and brings a higher level of reward.

If you're in Student Affairs, especially Residence Life…close your eyes and imagine…the one person (usually a lady in her 50's) who is single, made it to the "top" or near "top" and has some nieces and nephews that he/she cares deeply about, and maybe a dog (not always)….but is this what I'm supposed to be climbing the career ladder too? For the time being I will defer and spending my evenings with a loved one and friends at a bar…oh, and out of the office by 5:00 p.m.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lotion & Torn Shades

Tonight I walked into one of my lounges; there was baby lotion on the floor and the window shades were all torn down. If I had my guess there was some wild sex that occurred on that window. My guess is some exhibition. The couch was thrown against the other wall to open up room. Once I again, I sat there asking myself; "Is this really my life?" Granted, the view from the 17th floor is quite lovely. I could certainly see how it would set the mood.


 

Yesterday, I sat in my office as some strange student sat there screaming at the Desk Assistant. I asked the kid if he was a student at my school. His response to me was to almost punch me in my face. Again, I asked, "Is this really my life?"


 

I had a student who was wearing shorts that went so far up her ass that I did not think she was wearing shorts. I really thought she was pantless (apparently pantless is not a word according to MS Word). I had to stop myself behind her and then run into my office. I didn't know if I could handle the situation, it was too much. Again…."Is this really my life".


 

I explained to a parent the other day that once I pee'd on myself. The parent was concerned that her daughter's roommate was a danger to the community because she actually wet herself on her daughter's chair (the roommate). The chair wetter apparently was engaging in conversation with her roommate and accidently wet the chair. Granted, it is not natural, and it brings up its own host of problems. Yet, the parent was adamant that the girl who wet the chair was a threat. A THREAT. There are a lot of threats out there…and seriously, we all know the dangers of students taking a gun into public, but because a girl had an accident. No, dear parent, not this child…but rather maybe the student who actually threatened to bring a gun is a bit more of a threat….or that kid who wears the trench coat and mutters to himself….but I digress.


 

As I had had enough of the parent's stupidity and ignorance I finally admitted to the mother, "I once pee'd on myself and it was the funniest moment of my life." I then tried to explain to the mother that I was playing "ouch Frisbee" with a group of friends. We kept hitting the fat kid with the Frisbee and it was funny. I then laughed so hard, I pee'd myself. Even in re-telling the story my eyes watered with tears at the memory ten years ago. If anything, I shut that mother up with my own breed of crazy.


 

*Look, I'm heavy set, we weren't bullying. Our friend just happened to be really heavy set, I actually lost ouch Frisbee, but the heavy set kid's flip flop broke and it was funny.


 

**Okay, it doesn't sound as funny in writing, but it was the funniest damn moment of my life. …and yeah, I pee'd myself.


 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Really, is that what you want to do with your life?

The other day my boss made the comment that he had told his wife to "plan on me being dedicated to work for the next year and half, meaning weekends will probably be spent doing work". I thought to myself, WTF? C'on, he has to be kidding, right? Who the hell tells their loved one that they are going to be "busy" for the next year and a half? Work ethic or not, do you really think that writing journal articles that no one is going to read, or are going to be disproven in five years, is worth missing time with your family? With your partner? Hell, even your two dogs? Not for me. Not for me.

The thing is…we watch other people's kids for a living. Sure, we can ascribe some great meaning to it, if you really want to, but…we watch other people's kids for a living. The primary difference between my role and that of a Warden is that the Warden can do more in terms of promoting positive behavior. I am assuming it is easier for the Warden to do an eviction to another room or place someone in solitary. I really wish I had that luxury, but other attributes are the same. The furniture. The hidden drugs. …and cafeteria style food.

Community is going to happen, regardless of me being here or not. I think that that is the dirty secret of our profession; we have dreams of impacting the behaviors and life of all those around us, but it is not the same as when most of us were RA's. That not withstanding; RA's typically have a lasting impact, I hesitate to use the term "positive", but lasting and certainly play a role in the lives of their students. Yet, I can tell myself I am creating the infrastructure for RA success, but I feel like I would be lying. Once I went on vacation for the month of Feb. and missed nothing in my building.

Sometimes I really do giggle about how lucky I am to have this job, I mean…I get paid to put on events AND I have access to a dining hall 24/7, but to tell my loved one I have better things to do? I would argue this point regardless if it was a Housing Professional telling me this or not, but still…really, to give up a life for this?

…no..not I.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Don’t Believe In Student Empowerment

I have a dirty professional secret, I don't believe in RHA or Student Government. The U.S. was founded by the elite; the elite had the wisdom to set-up checks and balances and give the illusion of representation by the people. In the end, rights would never move forward if we sat with what the majority always wanted to do. Sometimes the majority is wrong. I feel this way about RHA. They get this sense that they can accomplish something, maybe even whispering to a HD "just you wait, I'm taking this to general assembly." I'm sorry, your plan to make quiet hours start at 2 a.m. is stupid. It is hard for you to believe, but some elements that are put in place by the administration are done so with a purpose. The purpose typically revolves around us liking our sleep, but still, there is a purpose.

There is also that element of the RHA "type". I love some of my RHA people, I really do. It's just that the majority are either socially awkward and /or gay. I'm sorry, my quota of college age gay male drama maxed out my first year of my graduate program. Ten years later it is non-existent. I don't give a shit if the RBD isn't responding back to you because you rebuffed his efforts. …or that you crazily stalked him during the chat messages and afterwards. Stop it. All of you. The only blessing I find in it is that sometimes I can guilt free throw one of my males into a female room without having to pay extra for a male in a room. There, I said it, I let my student's sometimes co-habitat at conferences. Sure, it's wrong, sure I'm violating a secret RHA rule of the world somewhere, but it's about money.

Continuing with the "type". I don't know there are the twenty year professionals who find their most rewarding moments at that conference where socially they fit in too. They recall their time twenty years ago where they fell in love with the profession, made their choice to go into Student Affairs, and now are clinging on with a death grip that is tragic. Please, move on, you/it were awkward then and it continues to this day. It is even more awkward when you're involved in the drama that unfolds in the board room. It's not necessary to coach your kids that they were not voted in because "so and so has something against you" or "it's not fair, you're right, it's not fair!". The reality is they weren't chosen, it is fair, there is a process. Sometimes qualified people get chosen, sometimes they do not. It's part of the cycle of RHA life. I find it particularly amusing when the unqualified, but must more entertaining get chosen. In the end their social qualifications probably far exceed the person they were selected above, but that's my two cents.

With that being said, I move away from RHA this year. It has been a happy and rewarding transition. No more late nights buying things I asked them for months before, or mediating a stupid conflict over whose t-shirt proposal is better. No my friends, I bid adieu to RHA for now.