Be Strong

by Olivia Barker
@oliviabark

Friedrich Nietzsche once said “what does not destroy me makes me stronger,” my girl Kelly Clarkson said something similar “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and sweet Christopher Robin reminded Pooh “you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” These are all beautiful affirmations and some I will be chanting...yes CHANTING...these this week.


There are so many wonderful sides of higher education and student affairs, but there are some hard/awful sides. Difficult meetings, difficult colleagues, difficult student, difficult decisions, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger...right?


I cannot tell you how many meetings I’ve had where I had a knot in my stomach because either the person I was meeting with was difficult or the topic of discussion was difficult. I value harmony and mutual respect, which I believe can be maintained in difficult situations. When we remember that we are all here for students and for the great well being of the institution, we can have difficult meetings and conversations and make difficult decisions while still maintaining a level of peace. Unfortunately, emotions and politics get involved and then people forget these details!

As new professionals (new to the field or new to an institution) we sometimes get walked over. It’s not right and no professional should be using their title and power to establish dominance in a relationship. Be strong! There is a difference between abrasive and strong and it’s important to know and exhibit that difference. You are just as much a member of the community and your voice is important. Be strong and stand up for what you believe in and what doesn’t kill you...will make you stronger!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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