So I was out with some co-workers today when I got a compliment on the vest I was wearing. The young man and I began talking about what I do. As such and in honor of the nearing close of my first semester of grad school, this is what I do for a living:
1) I do paperwork. Lots of it. It has to get done in order to get things moving forward. It is a headache, it is annoying, and it is important. I came in thinking about all the fun I get to have with students and got smacked with training videos and paperwork. But the paperwork is cool. It gives me data to back up decisions, to represent and support my students, and to challenge the process as I work to create the most effective opportunities with and for my students. I do lots of paperwork.
2) I read. A lot. Not only for class but for work. I read about how peer institutions do stuff. I read about the history of organizations I advise. I read about marketing campaigns, weeks designated for a particular purpose, research, constitutions and by-laws, and agendas. I take in each and every bit of information I can cram into my head so that I can use it in class, in meetings, in developing visions, in supporting the office and university mission statements, and for my own curiosity. I read. A LOT!
3) I write. This changes in its forms and is more intense at sometimes than others. I’ve written press releases, applications, surveys, award criteria, and agendas. I’ve written elements for social media campaigns. I’ve written more emails than I care to remember. I’ve written leadership course proposals and research ideas. I’ve taken notes (and written some thank you letters to advisors who put up with me as an undergrad) and I’ve written proposals for new councils. Writing is important in higher education graduate school and also as a graduate assistant.
4) I go to meetings galore. Spending more than half of my day in a meeting is not an uncommon occurrence. Whether it be staff meetings, meetings to discuss an idea, meetings with a student or student group, or just a one-on-one, meetings are happening all the time. Sometimes I’ve had meetings to decide to have a meeting. It gets annoying. But then there are times where those meetings produce more work than 15 people spending an entire day working on their own. Meetings happen.
5) I have fun. This idea really hit me today when this student asked me about the vest. Our entire office had gone downstairs to support the rec sports staff during their philanthropy (selling hotdogs to raise money). We were down there having an eating contest. I have upper administration in my office who plays pranks back and forth with us (we put newspaper, balloons, and solo cups all over his office and he didn’t let us clean it up so that he could play with it). This was of course after playing on a blow-up obstacle course the week before. I have also been to more potluck parties in the office in my first3.5 months that I’ve had birthdays, I’m pretty sure.
There are times where this work gets annoying, but I don’t have to work 40 hours a week and I get to do what I love. On top of that I get to study a subject I adore and cannot get enough of.
I love my job!