Stuff I learn from my students: “YOLO!” edition

This past week was the first time this summer that I felt overwhelmed (and there are no students around)! Between meetings, committee searches, and finalizing the fall semester programming calendar for my department, I was looking forward to a break. My boyfriend and I had been anxiously awaiting the latest installment of the Batman trilogy “The Dark Knight Rises” for months. After a busy week at the office, our dinner and movie date night was a much welcomed light at the end of the tunnel. However, on Friday morning we woke to the news that there had been a mass shooting at a midnight premiere showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado. This has left me in a reflective mood since then.

Life is short. I know many people say this, but I don’t think I have ever contemplated the fact that I could die today. And if I were to die, I’m fairly content with where I have been in my life. It would be sad if I didn’t get to accomplish all that I would want to do like learn to swim, apply to a PhD program, or have a family of my own one day. In my mind…I still have time.

I have always had time, but I never do anything that I would like to do with that time. My parents always taught me to prioritize my responsibilities. If there are days I want to get another job, “That’s great but don’t quit, Tabatha. You need to work to pay off your student loans” says my mother. If I want to travel to Hawaii next summer because I totally deserve a rocking vacation at the beach, mom says “Oh sure, that’s nice. You can do it but don’t forget you have those student loans to pay”.

Maybe it’s because I’m 26 years old and I work with and for young people all day and every day, but I always feel that there is “time” even though everything else in our society points to otherwise. Maybe the environment of Student Affairs keeps us young at heart because we foster student success, we develop and nurture students’ skills, and we fight for their dreams…we give them “time”. We give them the chance to think of the future. We give them the luxury and the beauty of “time” so they can do all the great things we hope for them and what they hope for themselves.

The incoming freshman class and our current college students are all about “YOLO” these days (You Only Live Once). I think it’s a great message (even though you’ve heard it for the 5th time during the day at orientation and it starts to get a bit annoying—oh the joys of pop culture!). It’s not far from the truth. You have only one life to live. You can’t live others’ lives, and no one can live your life for you. Enjoy your time. Do what makes you happiest. Explore. Once the time runs out, will you be happy with where you are and what you’ve done?

Please keep the victims of those who suffered the tragedy of the Colorado theater shooting in your thoughts and prayers.

Tabatha Cruz

Student Affairs - the First Years

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