Laugh it Out

Just a week or two ago, I had committed to attempting my first of 12 5K’s run during 2012, and was slowly dragging myself to the NMSU Student Center to get checked in and stretched at 8 AM. See, I had been on duty for eight nights in a row, and the final night of duty was filled with students running (well, stumbling) up the road to the hospital and other random occurrences. Needless to say, I had only gotten two hours of sleep, and wasn’t feeling like running three miles.

While I wasn’t feeling so great, I had told myself that I would participate, and I was going to stick with it. It is part of “The Katie’s Happiness Project” that fellow blog writer Katie Schmalzel and I have committed to running, and I couldn’t give up so fast. What does this have to do with laughter, as the title suggests?

As I was stretching and trying to not fall asleep at the start line, I noticed a couple pushing a young child in a stroller, and the little boy was having a blast. I hear the sound of the little boy laughing hysterically which automatically put a smile on my face. This young child hadn’t been taught how to laugh, yet laughing is a natural habit and tool we learn when we are young and continue to use throughout life.

So what does all of this have to do with this blog? Well, I spent the next three miles reflecting about the many times in the past seven months when I may have felt down, stressed, or simply overwhelmed, and how my students or coworkers have contributed to making me laugh. Whether it was an inside joke, multiple YouTube videos, a comment about past relationships, or just something so completely random all I could do was laugh. This has helped my get through the piles of paperwork, the long nights on duty, and the stress and heartbreak that happens every once in a while.

I view Student Affairs as a very amazing and unique field. We, as professionals, are resources for students more than they and we realize. Having a safe space students can come and share good news, heartbreak, jokes, or just 10 minutes of their time is sometimes more beneficial than four hours in a classroom. As some of us may have learned in graduate school, or have just observed from life, we are a product of our environment. It’s up to each of us to create that environment for our students. So why not add some fun and laughter in that mix as well? As the wonderful Joshua Wilson says, “Laughter can heal the heart.” There is no way to describe how true this has been for me over the past six months.

As some of the other blogs posted in the past two weeks have mentioned, we don’t always do everything right. As new professionals, we aren’t supposed to. This is the best time for us to take the mistakes we have made and learn from them, but also sit back and laugh. Because at the time the mistakes seem like the end of the world, but in the end, I’m sure we have all become stronger because of it. So, having a tough day? Laugh. Not feeling like you want to get out of bed? Laugh. Just need to take a break? Laugh.

And if you need a little help with getting that laughter started, here are a couple YouTube clips that made me chuckle, and hopefully it will bring a smile to your face as well!

Katie Ericson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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