What’s on your list?
Dr. Julia Overton-Healy
Women in Student Affairs KC Representative
Last week, I met with one of my student staff members, who will be a junior this year. I asked her “What are you looking forward to this year?” She laughed and said “I don’t know. I’m already too stressed to think about that.” We talked a little more—frankly I think she just needed to vent—but after she left, I started thinking about that question for myself.
As we start a new academic year, I took a little time to reflect on why I love my job, this career, our profession. I started a list (I am a world-class list-maker), and after a while I felt it was complete enough, and I taped it on the wall above my computer screen. I want to remind myself as the year wears on, what felt happy, hopeful, energizing, and exciting before the pressure settles in. I want to be able to look at that list when it’s been a rough day, and find renewal.
I’m no Pollyanna. I know there will be days when it feels like nothing went well. When my day’s to-do list got longer instead of shorter. There are never enough hours in the day to get it all done. The budget is too small, the expectations too large. Days when I missed a meeting, a memo, a moment. I know it gets very, very difficult some days to keep looking forward.
But I don’t want to give in to the gloom, the stress, the grind. I know I owe it to myself, my students and my colleagues to be better than that.
And so, I wrote myself a reminder of why I do what I do, and the ways I find joy in my work. I will add to it as the days go by. It will shift and change and evolve. But it will be authentic and it will buoy me. Who knows? It might be a predictor for all the wonderful things coming my way this year.
I don’t know what might be on your list (I hope you make one), but I hope it is meaningful and true and real for you. And so we begin again… What are you looking forward to this year?