Some of the most fun moments of my life have been with co-workers. So have some of the worst. This, sadly, is a post about the latter.
Recently, there have been a string of suicidal ideations, attempts and even a successful suicide on the UAA campus. This is, as you can imagine, very difficult for not only the students involved but the staff members that work with them and the professional staff members who work with them. Sometimes the policies that we enforce because of these actions make sense, other times they only make us want to pull our hair in frustration. There are those moments when you talk to a student and there is nothing behind their eyes but dispair and sadness and others that you stare into pools of desperate hope and pleading voice.
And you do what needs to be done. Whether you agree with the policy and procedure or not because that is what you are told to do.
You deliver the message you have been taught to deliver. And because you know that it is for the right and completely for them, you then take a step back and become this alternate person and say what is really on your mind and what is really going to be helpful to the student and their family. Contrary to official policy or not, it is student centred, necessary and you would say it again and again because each and every situation is different.
And you risk formal sanctions and your neck is on the chopping block because you have done what years of experience has taught you; the student is the most important and must come first. That my entire job is them.
And it doesnt matter if you are thinking about a simple alcohol violation, extreme drug violation, roommate conflict, noise violation or the ideations.
Everything, everyone, everytime is different.
But its all the same.
But I’m not qualified for my job.
Because I cant tell you what dead guy named any theory of student development. Because I didn’t spend $20,000+ learning what I already know.
The student is first and their growth and development is paramount.
And this is what I know.