Are You a Freshmen?


So this week I would like to start off with a little story from this past week J

As the advisor for the Campus Activities Board I headed back to campus one evening for one of our night events. About half way to my destination, I come across two students. I’m very friendly and the rest of the campus seems to be just as friendly, so I say, “Hello!” The two gentlemen say, “Hello!” in response then continued walking on with a slightly puzzled look. They addressed me again, “Are you new here?” they say. And I say, “yes.” One of them continues to ask, “Are you a freshmen?” And I respond with a drawn out, “no…” thinking… oh, they think I’m a freshmen. He persists, “Are you a sophomore?” I reply again, “no.” Again he continues, “Are you a junior?” I chuckled a little as I say, “nope!” And this time he asks with a shock, “Are you a SENIOR?” with the slight suggestion that he couldn’t believe that I could be a senior. I smiled and said, “no.” They looked at one another, and before he asked, I clarified and said, “I’m a new staff member in the Office of Student Life.” They seemed surprised that I could be a staff member and after exchanging names we spoke a little more about what my role is here on campus and what their involvement was. Then we went on our merry ways towards our destinations.

As I walked away from the two boys I thought about how many times a day I get mistaken for a student. It’s usually a very confusing moment for both sides of the conversation, but I think after that little exchange, I’ve decided to embrace the fact that I look very young (apparently young enough to be a freshmen). I’m going to welcome all the “What year are you?” “I’ll need to see your student ID please!” and even the “So, how old are you?” They don’t offend me because I’m not ashamed of the answers to them. Especially on a small campus, I have learned to go ahead and introduce myself with my title so that everyone starts to learn right off the bat that I’m staff. I’ve been told it should catch on to the rest of campus.

I think the interesting part will be next weekend when I’m on call for campus Like everyone who is on call, I hope I don’t get any calls. However, I believe that enforcing violations with any upperclassmen whom I have not met yet. My method now will be to put on my staff polo and name badge and of course use all the knowledge and experience I’ve learned.

Can any of you relate? Do you have any ideas?

Jenni with an “I”
@JenniwithaniK

Student Affairs - the First Years

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1 comment :

  1. I encounter this all the time! And I've been working at my campus for almost 3 years.

    I tried a variety of things to look older. I totally relate with what you're going through, especially because I am 5 feet tall. My stature doesn't really command attention. Anywho...I wear my polo and name badge all the time at my department's events. However, I have still found our guest speakers ask me what my major is. I tried cutting my hair shorter. I saw on a website that shorter hair was more professional--so I was rockin' a bob for a while. I tried wearing heels, but I still don't reach eye-level with some students. I also realized that I couldn't wear a hoodie sweatshirt anymore--that's probably when I get it the worst on campus from faculty and from department secretaries, etc.

    My advice is keep trucking along. I always start off by introducing myself with my title first, just like you mentioned. It gets easier with time. My mother says to appreciate it and embrace it because when I'm in my 40s and 50s, I'll wish to still look like a college girl. Good luck! :)

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