What Do I Stand For?

Whenever I’m driving around town, I have the music blaring in my car, jamming out to music. People stare at me when I’m dancing in my car, at the stop light. My latest jam out song is “Some Nights” by Fun. The chorus says “But I still wake up. I still see your ghost. Oh, Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for, oh oh oh. What do I stand for? What do I stand for? Most nights I don’t know…anymore”. It struck me the other day that sometimes I struggle with the notion of what I stand for and how that effects my identity, just as much as my students do.

Lately, I have had numerous students coming to me to vent about their identity, whether it be their racial or leadership identity. I have a multicultural student who struggles with her friends forcing her to pick a side when it comes to her student organization affiliations. While this student is involved in Student Government and wants all groups to collaborate with each other for events, the students’ loyalty is always questioned: Are you Hispanic or are you Black? I had a sorority student come in questioning whether she should remain in her leadership position because other students were criticizing her position. Her position requires her to promote academic preparedness and assist any student in their scholarship needs. Her peers seem to give her a hard time because they don’t want to study (sorry, but that’s why you’re in college).

As a young professional, I struggle with identity issues and how it effects what I stand for in terms of values. In the past few years, I’ve become passionate about equality and civil rights, and this in term has affected my thoughts on religion. I also stand for hard work and honesty. Yet I observe other staff and administrators in the field who behave in unethical ways and enjoy institutional politics. Sometimes it’s hard to stand up for something, especially when you feel like you have something to lose. And as in the song “Some Nights” alludes to, at other times, we lose sight of what’s important to us as people because of our jobs and our relationships with others. That can be a painful experience, and yet a learning opportunity because change is inevitable. There will always be ideas to challenge our thinking. Also, because the world lies in shades of grey, we’re not always going to find answers to questions. Thus, we are constantly changing and evolving in our personal lives, leadership roles, and work persona in the quest to achieve some balance and inner peace.

I tell my students that everyone will want to have something to say about what you do and how you do it. Some aren’t going to like what you have to say, and some will support you. But in the end, you have to know that in whatever task you undertake that you’re doing and giving the best you can with what resources and support you have. As long as your goals are clear, you know what you stand for, and what matters most to you…then don’t be afraid to speak up when you’re passionate about something.

I stand for a fair opportunity, for working hard, honesty, and for acceptance.

What do you stand for?

Tabatha Cruz

Song of the Week: “Some Nights” by Fun.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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