Tonight I have nothing but gratitude for my RAs.

Yeah, I know, this means that I have two shmoopy posts in a row about my RAs but I don’t even care.

Because tonight, after staff meeting (one that doesn’t even start until 9:30 at night, mind you), the nine of them brought out a cake and balloons and surprised me for my birthday. 

And, you know, I can count on one hand how many times a group of people, let alone a single person, has planned a surprise for me like this. 

It was simple, but it was meaningful. And that’s all I could ever ask for from them and the work that they do.

It’s a goal for me, you know; to make sure that the students I supervise find some sort of meaning in the work they do. Because Darwin knows that the meaning I find in my job comes from my interactions with them and the students that they’re working with on a personal level. 

But honestly, even if they never remember the time that they all came together to buy their Community Director a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday at 10pm on a Wednesday night, I will. And I’ll be forever thankful for the experiences that they’ve provided me before and after this balloon bouquet, too.

And that, in and of itself, is just another surprise for me. 🙂

So until tomorrow,



Thoughts from places: A Curry College Women’s Basketball game

As you’ve probably gathered by now, sports and I don’t usually go together.

Well, at least that’s what I used to be able say  anyway.

Because through some miracle, I now find myself willingly sitting at football games, and volleyball games, and women’s basketball games on campus, cheering on my RAs who are playing that day.

Oh yeah. There it is: My RAs.

You know, I didn’t think it was going to happen the way it did; the way that I was going to form bonds with these students.

I expected to lay down the “law,” get the respect that I “deserved,” and stay distant from them (remember that work/life balance I talked about a few days ago?).

But that all went out the window the moment I met them. Nine RAs with a miriad of strengths and personalities who just wanted support and guidance after having felt like they were abandoned by their previous supervisor (I still cringe when I think of the mess he left me).

They challenged me. They taught me. They disappointed me. They impressed me.

And then the year ended and I had to adapt to having a few new and different folks on my staff when the fall rolled around. And when I thought I didn’t have anything more to learn from my RAs, they surprised me.

I found myself wanting to do more right by them than I previously had. Specifically, I really wanted to BE THERE more than I had before.

Sometimes that means that I’m sitting quietly in my office with them when they’re crying about the racism that they’re personally experiencing.

Other times that means that I’m adapting recipes to make them vegan, but also sans tree nuts so all of them can have cookies during staff meeting.

Even other instances means I’m sending texts to wish them luck on that nursing exam they’ve been studying for weeks to pass.

Tonight it means that I’m squeezing in half of a basketball game that I don’t fully understand the rules of between two other commitments.

It may not be to you, but it’s clear to me that more than my address has changed about me in the past 11 months!

Change is good.

I like change.

I think.

Until tomorrow,

cheers. xx