We Are Young

“I have the best students ever!” is a statement I make all the time. I am so proud of the young men and women I work with and advise. They are energetic and motivated. However, they are not like THAT all the time.

Sometimes they give me an attitude.

Sometimes they don’t listen.

And as sure as the sun is bright, they definitely don’t think I’m always right.

They have challenged me in ways I did not expect, but I can honestly say they are the best students. This past academic year I have learned so much about myself through my students. In particular, I’ve learned about letting go and not sweating the small stuff.

I advise the Hispanic Latino Student Union, in which the majority of my Executive Board members are freshmen. I have kept a close eye on them in their new positions, as for some this is their first leadership role. A few months ago, I heard a comment through the grapevine that some students felt that I was overstepping my boundaries because this was a “student organization” not an “advisor’s organization”. I use the word grapevine, because this was all hearsay. None of my students approached me about it, until an unhappy general assembly member interrupted an Executive Board meeting to tell my students what they were doing wrong and how they lacked leadership.

It hit me like a bunch of bricks when I got home I cried after trying to give my students a pep talk when their organization was going through a difficult situation with some general body members. Not only was I upset, but the fact that a student was questioning what I teach to my Executive Board. In addition, undermining my authority in front of other students, sent me over the edge. This was the first time I had encountered a student who disliked me.

I had to learn to take comments and remarks about my performance as an advisor with a grain of salt, as well as learn to trust myself and be confident in what I teach my students. At the end of the day, I know that what I’m teaching them is to be respectful of one another and to be strong leaders. I shared with my students that if they ever had a problem with me, they could always come talk to me. In my assumption as an advisor, I thought I made my open-door policy a given from day one, but I was wrong. You never stop telling your students “I’m here for you” and maybe I just didn’t tell them enough. It opened my eyes up to the fact that I had been hand-holding them too much, and it was time to let them do their own thing.

My students hosted their biggest event of the year recently, Latino Ball, their annual dance/formal. Sure some of them gave me an attitude along the way, but I let it go. They didn’t listen when I told them to start planning early, but I gave them direction when I was asked. And of course, they didn’t think I would be right about how tempers flare up due to lack of communication, but now they know better. The best part is: I learned from them, too. In the end, that is the best part about working with students – you never stop learning from each other. That’s why my students are the best :]

Tabatha Cruz

Student Affairs - the First Years

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1 comment :

  1. What a great experience! Thank you so much for sharing! I know as a first year grad I have really learned so much from advising for the first time! Our students really are the best and have so much to teach us!


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