A Helping Hand

We all have those days that get us down. We are only human, meaning we are prone to being forgetful or clumsy or capable of making thoughtless mistakes. And being under the pressure of a culture driven by the notion that success is reached fast and efficiently with few mistakes, we often need a helping hand when we do slip up. And just last week, I had the privilege of experiencing how I can offer that help through my job.

The main proponent of my position as Campus Visit Coordinator is to schedule individualized visits for prospective students. I schedule students for campus tours, admission meetings and faculty meetings, among other tasks as requested. I also act as a back-up tour guide.

A campus tour I had scheduled was running late. It was a young woman and her mother, who were in a race against time to get all their necessary paperwork submitted so she could start classes in the fall. They admitted getting a late start , but had gotten through the admission process fairly quickly. However they had not yet accomplished one very important step: enrolling in classes. Because the usual tour guides were already out, I decided to give the two their campus tour.

The young woman was interested in the School of Communications, which allowed me to give her a more detailed tour of the building. I guess what happened next was purely coincidental, but easily a moment I won’t soon forget. We walked past the office of The Journal, our campus newspaper, and made contact with Larry, advisor to The Journal and one of my personal favorite instructors from undergrad.

Larry is not one to be shy by any means, and immediately inquired about the young woman’s interests and current standing. After realizing her need to enroll in classes, Larry offered his resources as an advisor to get her signed up. After her tour, she met with Larry while I escorted her mother to the financial aid office to complete some paperwork. Along the walk, the mother admitted she was nervous about sending her youngest off to school, but felt relieved and expressed such gratitude that we were able to accommodate her and get her daughter enrolled during her visit. Because I was a School of Communications student myself, I was able to provide her with the resource she needed to get everything completed.

I left work that day feeling elated for selflessly making another person’s day so great.

This is why I am proud to be a student again. I take pride in the fact that I am capable of providing resources to other students and getting them connected with the people they need most. I also take pride in acting as a point of contact for prospective and current students alike. Most importantly, I take pride in that I was raised with a willingness to sacrifice my time to lend a helping hand, an attitude which I intend to carry into my professional career.

“The only gift is a portion of thyself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


One is Silver, the Other Gold

You know those little moments from your childhood? You know, the ones that at the time had little to no significance in your personal development, but for some reason have always stuck with you?

Well one of mine came back to me today. I was in my second grade music class, a tiny classroom with no more than 30 kids, sitting in rows looking at our thick, heavy music books. One of the songs was a musical version of the old phrase, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold,” sung in rounds. At the time the song got on my nerves (I’m still not sure why), but here I am 15 years later, with this same simple little song stuck in my head. This time, though, I realize it actually has some meaning.

When I was in my last semester of getting my bachelor’s degree, a slight feeling of tension arose among my friends and me. When we actually got the chance to hang out, it didn’t feel right. There was some odd level of stress and awkwardness.

It’s not like any of my friends did something wrong or harmful. It was just that each of us happened to be at a crossroads all about the same time, and each of us had our own personal stress distracting us from enjoying each other’s company. And being at those crossroads made us lose touch with each other for the sake of pulling our own personal lives together.

Recently, when I received an invitation to an old high school friend’s wedding, I had a distressing epiphany. I am a very sociable person, and have been blessed with a expansive circle of friends. Through high school, college and even the “real” world, I have made connections to more people than I’d ever imagined. In that brief moment of realization, I grew overwhelmed knowing how many people I consider friends but haven’t talked to in years.

Since I’ve become a full-fledged adult, and have had the opportunity to sort out my thoughts and goals since graduation, I realize now that this is normal. We all do simply what we have to do, even if that means sacrificing quality time with friends. Friends will move away, get married, have kids, do grown up things. There is no reason to be disliked for it, it is simply the nature of being grown up.

Even if I haven’t spoken to someone in years, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to their wedding. It doesn’t even mean that we aren’t friends. There’s no point in spending our waking hours concerned whether we’re still friends, without probable cause for those thoughts. It’s the little moments we often overlook; the exchanging of Pokemon cards on the school bus, the shaving cream fight, the 3am coffee runs, the timeless moments we can still laugh about today, that have solidified us as friends.

So in those rare moments when my friends and I do have the time to catch up, we are genuinely able to enjoy each other’s company. We are able to relive old memories and hopefully make some new ones as well. It’s as if we’d just seen each other. And it’s an amazing feeling, one that even being Facebook “friends” could never conjure.

So as the saying goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.” It doesn’t matter who they are, where you met or how long it’s been since you’ve talked. It doesn’t even matter if they’re silver or gold; either way, those friendships will remain precious.