Let me tell you what pieces of my office are not me: the lack of windows and the cinder block walls, standard issue for many college campus buildings. Additionally, the fluorescent lighting has not been used during my occupation. I opt for several lamps, instead, which many find calming. It’s cozy for sure.
When I went into my office today, I snapped a few photos of the things that drew my attention the most quickly, and when I look at them together now, I see that they are all pieces that were from my students. There is a quilt from my last residence hall student staff. It contains inside jokes that would take me too long to tell, and truly, you had to be there.
From another student staff, I have a “Today, I Feel…” sign, since I told them all how much I loved their expressions. I remember that they named our staff after the group popular at the time, N*SYNC. However, my crew was named N*Staff. They were the staff members that wanted to dress up in themes for staff meetings, wrote end of semester raps, and introduced me to Harry Potter books.
I have my ALLY and Safe Space signs from my very first position in student affairs. It has about three layers of lamination on it to try to keep it in one piece. I have notes from various students and fellow student affairs professionals.
My bookshelf, in addition to being lined with student affairs textbooks from grad school, also hold the various gifts that many of my students from Korea have brought me as thank-yous. They were all so kind to tell me the stories behind the fans, or symbols, or clothing.
One of my incredibly talented Creative Advertising students was president of the Advertising Association while he was on campus. I loved the posters Jack Muldowney designed for their group’s various events. When the year was done, I asked him for copies of his posters, which he graciously provided me. Since I didn’t have wall space to frame and hang them all, and since I couldn’t choose just a few that I liked about the others, I made a collage of all of the posters. It’s colorful and makes me smile every time I walk into my office.
I love being surrounded by my students. I am constantly amazed at the talent they demonstrate, the wit that they share, and the mountains they climb to get to graduation. My office keeps reminders of them and their special place in my heart nearby, and when it’s time, I will pack up all of these little pieces of my career and take them to the next place.