I know how you feel because I’ve been there. You’re ready to take on new challenges and are excited over the prospect of influencing the lives of the students and staff you will be working with. It’s a time to celebrate your transition – a sort of graduation into a different world. You say you can’t wait to live off campus, to have your own domicile, your own washer and dryer, your own parking space, your own bed? I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts as you venture beyond the boundaries of the institution you’ve called “home” for the last few years.
With your new position come new responsibilities and new expectations. Along with the excitement of new surroundings, new students, and new peers, you may be challenged to make some compromise to gray areas you have not had to experience up to this point. What you at one time thought was a cut and dried issue of right and wrong, is no longer. Maturity in professional growth brings with it an ability to see beyond the immediate situation. You will learn that what is important is not “how” things are accomplished but “what” is accomplished through the process. You have been somewhat sheltered up to this point by your mentors who have done their best to gradually provide experiences that were designed to thicken your skin. It’s merely been an exercise in developing professional maturity, and you have learned well.
I watched as you dealt with your first parental confrontation. They looked at you as though you were too young to make decisions concerning their children and wanted to talk to the person in charge. I had to smile as you assertively, but not aggressively, revealed to them your “in charge” ranking. You worked with them beautifully, explaining the “student development point of view” and how it will benefit their child to experience living with someone different than them. The desire you had to help the student succeed in this new experience was utmost in your mind. And because of the interaction you had with this student, you opened the mind and heart of a scared adolescent who has become a leader in their brief stay on our campus. There is no greater accomplishment.
I want to thank you for the outstanding job you have done. You have learned well the art of diplomacy and professionalism. You have voiced your opinions and concerns in such a way to create a positive outcome. You have never been demanding or close-minded. You have offered solutions to challenges only after weighing the advantages to all involved. Only if your solution benefited everyone involved did you offer the alternative. You have worked well with all residence life staff, students, and parents. You have done well in devoting time and energy for the purpose of helping others in their personal journeys. Your staff has much respect for your leadership. You have been fair and consistent as a supervisor; yet treat each staff member individually being consistent in your inconsistencies. Your patience has taken you far and because of this quality you are seen as a cooperative, compassionate, helpful, and caring individual. You are not rude or sullen when events and circumstances did not go you way. Instead, you accepted the circumstance with maturity and found other ways to accomplish your goal of positively influencing the development of your staff and students. You have not complained whined or placed blame on others when mistakes have been made. Instead, you have accepted responsibility for mistakes made either by you or those you supervise and have worked hard to rectify them and learn from them. And lastly, you have been flexible; a quality that above all others will help you be a successful leader and administrator.
I hope you’ll remember your time here as a place where you found who you were as a person, a supervisor and a friend. You are now ready for the challenges of being a property owner, pet owner, and appliance owner. You’re ready for the “big time” of rent, utilities and moments of total quiet. But it’s during the moments of quiet that you can reflect on what you learned these past few years. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself visiting the halls in the dead of night, not because you have to, but because you want to once again feel the familiarity of the hustle and bustle of a building of students. Oh, and don’t be surprised if on those occasions you find your director also visiting the halls in the dead of night. Some habits are not worth breaking. It’s a world unlike any other and one where you are destined to make a mark on the future.
Thank you for allowing me to be a mentor. It is staff like you who make it all worthwhile. I wish you the best and please know that I am always here for you. If you can’t find me at my number, I’ll be in the halls doing what I do best; smiling as I watch a new professional work with scared adolescents as they learn life’s lessons in the residence halls.
Your Director, Colleague, and Friend
Lorinda Krhut, Director of Residence Life
Submitted by Lorinda Krhut, Director of Residence Life, The University of Southern Mississippi