What Does Your Office Say About You?

I have so many friends in student affairs who collect things, and their collections are reflected in my office space. Starfish, gnomes, memorabilia from schools and friendships. What does my office say about me? I’m a Ron Swanson loving URI and USF graduate and hockey enthusiast. And that’s just what I want it to say.
A hallmark of arriving at a new job, in my opinion, is expressing yourself through your office decorations. And from my stuffed animals to my hockey bobbleheads, I want my office to say as much about me as it can. After all, when I’m building relationships with students, I want them to know who they’re talking to. It makes our conversations more authentic, our interactions more meaningful.

So here are a few examples of must haves in my office.
Pics of Friends and Family (above): I realized these weren’t yet up after starting this post, and had to pause to make sure they were up. These are the people who get me through my days, who got me to where I am, and I like being able to have them in plain view while I’m working. It’s a nice reminder of why we do what we do: to be the best versions of ourselves for them! Moreover, I like to keep records of their encouragement. This pink sheet to the right has been prominently posted in every office I’ve had, and will continue for the rest of my career. It is the remnant of a class activity in grad school, where you wrote something nice and encouraging for each classmate. On the rough days, this sheet has gotten me through a lot. Can you tell? J

My Hockey Bobbleheads: I am a fanatical hockey fan, I say this all the time. But starting a job as we do prior to hockey season, it usually takes a few months for people to see what I mean about this.  These are only four of them, I also have a larger one on my desk and a coin in front of my computer monitor. This is serious, folks.

Message Board, and School Memorabilia
An essential part of my work is being accessible, an essential part of me is making it fun. So I have a photo of Childish Gambino (the rapper alter ego of comedian Donald Glover), telling people where I am (stepped out, gone for the day, at lunch, busy so don’t disturb, etc.) That way, no student is overly frustrated that they can’t find me- I haven’t disappeared, but I’m somewhere else!
The other part is a little controversial- should I have Emmanuel memorabilia up? Yes, and when I get some I’ll be happy to post it. But should it replace my URI or USF memorabilia? In my opinion, no. To me, it shows that you can show pride for where you come from even after you leave that place, and I would hope that my students show their Emmanuel pride long after they leave here. I like modeling that pride, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

What about you? What does your office say about you?

Amma Marfo

Student Affairs - the First Years

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