Things I Learned From the Movies

“With great power, comes great responsibility” – Uncle Ben, Spiderman

The higher up on the ladder in higher education, the more responsibility is placed upon the person. At the lower end, you have a staff person like me who interacts with students on a regular basis. We are the ones to make sure that short term goals and needs are met. Further up the ladder you will find the administrators, like the President and Provost (individuals with a great deal of power) who have the responsibility of making sure all aspects of the University are functioning well. Then you have the Board of Regents…they have more power. Next in line are the state governmental officials who vote on whether or not to provide funding for the University. POWER. Use it wisely and you will move mountains. Abuse it, and no one will trust you.

“It is not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me” – Batman, Batman Begins

I have learned that there are people who will treat their jobs as their passions, but others will treat it as just a job. I believe that actions speak volumes about your work ethic. I have encountered people who do not have students’ best interest at heart and it drives me crazy. You may talk the Student Affairs talk, but walking the walk is a whole other story. Take pride in the work that you do every day. Remember why you chose this profession. The day it becomes “just a job” you may need to reevaluate your priorities. Students have a 6th sense. They know when you are not being sincere.

“Try not. Do, or do not, There is no try” – Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: the Empire Strikes Back

There will be days in which we feel burnt out, but we should carry on. However, Yoda was on to something. In life, we have to take risks. Taking risks can be scary, yet it’s also necessary if we want to keep the excitement in our careers. If there is something you wish to learn at your job, ask your boss. If there is a new committee you would like to join, ask around to see who could drop your name at a meeting sometime. If you want to teach the students about “The Hunger Games”, talk to them. When Yoda says “there is no try” I understand it seems dualistic (hooray student development theory!). But like Isaac Newton’s law of inertia states: an object in a state of rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it. Therefore, just take a step forward, push, shove, jump, or walk. Get moving!

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary” – John Keating, Dead Poets’ Society

This movie was fantastic! I still feel inspired during the end of the film when the students stand on their desk and say “Oh Captain, my Captain”. There will be days in which you will feel inspired because of your students, and there will come a time when YOU (your presence, your work, and your words) will inspire a student to do great things. Sometimes the work we do in Student Affairs goes unnoticed, but remember always that you are making an impact, great or small, in a student’s life…and that to me is extraordinary.

“Go ahead, make my day” – Harry Callahan, Sudden Impact

I think it’s important that in whatever task, assignment, or journey you embark on, you should be prepared to take it on full throttle. To be honest, I sometimes have a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings because I know there will be a long day ahead of me, or I have to assist in resolving conflict amongst my students. However, I think of all the items on my to-do list for the day and fire myself up. Gear yourself up for the challenge of the day. Be ready to take on what comes at you and stand your ground when life gets tough. 

Tabatha Cruz
@tabatha Cruz 

Student Affairs - the First Years

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