Today it finally set in that I am taking a leap and leaving the comfort of the known by leaving my student/alumni/community engagement position. I had to take time to clear out my office and put things into boxes. While it is not a final departure, it is the closing of a chapter and a transition. Do you realize how much stuff you can gather over 10 years!? Taking things given to me by students off the shelf, carefully placing all the photo frames of my alumni away, the box of thank you cards, the books and papers accumulated that are my history of student/alumni engagement. A lot of today was to reminisce and think about who I have met, the things I got to do and the stories I got to build. It was also about understanding the 10 years and how it has built and changed me. It has been an amazing ride!
10 years ago, I had a vision to try and impact students so they had a better start in life than I ever did. Walking in, I did not have the credentials to say that I am in education, have the theories of student engagement surround me or that I had any history in life and career development. What I did have was a passion to help, care about the audience, take time to listen and share my stories. Someone took a chance on me because they saw possibility and opportunity. I was hired to engage students and I did that with such tenacity. Over the years, I have been able to mentor/coach hundreds of students. I have been asked how? How could someone be able to never turn a single student away and still get all their work done? A simple answer – when you meet your calling in life, you are able to accomplish much and it does not feel like work. I can say with confidence that I never turned one student away because I was too busy for them. I could not conceivably turn anyone away because you never know what impact you might have on someone. I have had a very rich experience over the years. In my time in student engagement, I never missed one orientation because I wanted to introduce myself to you. In 10 years, I never missed one graduation ceremony because I did not want to miss the opportunity to tell you that you mattered to me. In 10 years I did not miss one BASS Banquet because I wanted to celebrate with you.
Today, as I sit and read notes from my students and glance over the things I have accumulated from them. I take a deep breath because the memories are so important to me. Each and every one of my students have made a lasting impression on me. It is a transition but not a finale. It may sound like I am moving on and walking into the sunset but that is not the case. There is much for me to continue to do and try to make a positive impression on the masses. My role may shift and change but I will always be available, accessible and present for my students/alumni/community. This is just about closing off one chapter so I might be able to turn the page and start a new one.
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